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Returning starters: Thomas Fletcher, Scott Meyer
Starters lost: JK Scott, Andy Pappanastos


The kicker battle will be between redshirt freshman Joseph Bulovas and graduate transfer Austin Jones. Bulovas was 5-of-7 on field goals in the A-Day Game, while Jones was 50-of-67 during his career at Temple. Freshman Skyler DeLong ranked as the No. 2 punter prospect in the nation and was in camp during spring practice. Trevon Diggs, Xavian Marks and Henry Ruggs III all returned punts last season and all three return this fall. Several players have gotten looks as potential kickoff returners.


DeLong, Bulovas and Jones are all newcomers. They’ll handle the kicking game for Alabama. The freshman class could also help out in the return game. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is one candidate who could get a look at kick returner and punt returner. His speed and change-of-direction ability is evident from his high school tape.


Alabama finished the 2017 season without a touchdown in the return game. The last time that had happened was 2014.


Punter JK Scott was a key to Alabama dominating field position for the last four years. It’s unfair to count on DeLong to repeat that kind of production. Jones and Bulovas give Alabama options in the kicking game. Special teams coordinator Jeff Banks has more experience working with kickers and punters than some of his predecessors, which could bode well for the kicking game. Creating a greater impact in the return game would be the most likely way for Alabama to improve its special teams performance from a year ago. Development of a returning player or the emergence of a newcomer will be key to that.


The last time Alabama had to replace both its kicker and its punter in the same offseason was 2010, when Jeremy Shelley and Cade Foster took over at kicker for Leigh Tiffin and Cody Mandell replaced P.J. Fitzgerald as punter.


“When (Skyler DeLong) hits the ball, he hits it fantastic. Most of it with most punters, it’s confidence in the drop, and that’s what we’re really working on with him. But his operation time and all that has been really, really good. We’ve just got to get him a little more consistent in direction kicking and putting the ball where we’d like for it to be.”
– Nick Saban

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