Alabama football has a silver lining about potentially empty stadiums.
Every college football team is bound to have its weaknesses. Even a team as dominant as Alabama football has struggled. One of their biggest weaknesses has been kickers. It has almost felt like a curse. Call is a superstition if you’d like, but empty stadiums might actually be the answer.
Let’s start with a look at previous kickers and poor moments in Alabama football history. We all remember the Kick 6, but Alabama also missed multiple key kicks in their 9-6 overtime loss to LSU in 2011. Even in key victories like their national championship win against Georgia, missed field goals are a talking point.
Last season, Alabama missed 6 kicks (including 3 extra points) inside of 40 yards. Many kicks in recent years have clanged off of the uprights. Will Reichard was supposed to be the savior for the Crimson Tide, but he was inconsistent before an injury ended his freshman campaign.
This doesn’t sound like a specific curse, but their opponents made every single kick against them in 2019. This includes the deep Auburn field goal in the last second of the Iron Bowl’s first half.
How will empty stadiums cure Alabama football’s woes?
At this point, every Crimson Tide fan holds their breath when a kicker trots onto the field. At home, you can feel that pause. Misses lead to loud groans, but makes lead to mock applause. The cheers are a little too loud for an extra point conversion, something that should be automatic for all college kickers.
If it is in the minds of fans, it is surely in the heads of the kickers. Even the best kicker has to feel all eyes on them in these moments. You can write it off and say that they should get over it, but that is a lot of weight for a kicker to carry. They receive more pressure from fans than they do haters. It’s like every routine kick becomes a game-winner in the NBA Finals.
This is where empty stadiums come into play. Without fans in the stands, the situation becomes as close to practice as you can get. Will Reichard has been known to drill kicks in practice, so this is a good thing.
Kicking is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical. That goes twice over for Alabama football kickers. Perhaps an empty stadium and clear mind is all it takes to cure the Crimson Tide curse.