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November 9, 2009

Tide, Tiffin in great shape for postseason awards

TUSCALOOSA _ Even though he's the University of Alabama's all-time leader in points scored, senior kicker Leigh Tiffin doesn't get recognized that often around town.

"Usually they ask first, 'Are you Leigh?'" he said.

Nevertheless, he may be the Crimson Tide's best chance at a major postseason award this year even though Alabama may be poised to win some serious hardware. Monday morning Tiffin was named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award as the nation's best kicker.

His competition is Wes Byrum, Auburn; Jordan Congdon, Southern California; Stefan Demos, Northwestern; Morgan Flint, Oregon; Kai Forbath, UCLA; Alan Gendreau, Middle Tennessee; Kevin Goessling, Fresno State; Alex Henery, Nebraska; Spencer Lanning, South Carolina; Hunter Lawrence, Texas; Joe Phillips, Utah; Robert Randolph, Virginia; Craig Ratanamorn, Marshall; Grant Ressel, Missouri; Will Snyderwine, Duke; Caleb Sturgis, Florida; Brett Swenson, Michigan State; Nick Tausch, Notre Dame; and Blair Walsh, Georgia.

However, because Tiffin is the lone returning semifinalist and leads the nation in scoring among kickers by averaging 10.44 points per game he appears to be the frontrunner.

Forbath is tied with him for the national lead in field goals made with 20, and the lone candidate to have not missed a kick yet is Ratanamorn, who is just 11-for-11 and made all 22 extra points.

Tiffin has made 23 of 26 field-goal attempts this season and with this third field goal Saturday became Alabama's all-time scoring leader during the 24-15 victory against LSU. His 347 career points topped Phillip Doyle's record of 345 (1987-90).

"I feel like we're been kicking good all year, in the zone and with a hot streak" Tiffin said.

He also hasn't missed since the tape incident, a devise more than half the teams in the Southeastern Conference used but South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier pointed out about Alabama.

"I don't know how," he joked.

Next up on accolades announcements is the Rotary Lombard Award, which goes to the nation's outstanding lineman, with four finalists scheduled to be named Wednesday. Senior nose tackle Terrence Cody and junior linebacker McLain are both up for the award.
The other 10 semifinalists are Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran, Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Texas Christian defensive end Jerry Hughes, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, South Carolina linebacker Scott Norwood, Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung, South Florida defensive end George Selvie, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

Semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award for running back of the year will be announced Thursday, with sophomore Mark Ingram expected to top the list. His 144 rushing yards, 106 in the second half, and five catches for 30 yards against LSU kept him on the short list for Heisman Trophy consideration with four more games to be played before voting is completed.

Here's how Alabama players look regarding all the major national awards:

Heisman Trophy: Finalists announced Dec. 9.
Maxwell Award (outstanding player): Mark Ingram, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Walter Camp Award (Player of the year): Semifinalists announced Nov. 17.
Butkus Award (linebacker): Rolando McClain, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 19.
Outland Trophy (interior lineman): Cody and Mike Johnson on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Bednarik Award (defensive player): Terrence Cody and Rolando McClain, semifinalists. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): No semifinalists.
Unitas Golden Arm (senior quarterback): Alabama has one who qualifies.
Doak Walker Award (running back): Semifinalists announced Thursday. Ingram on watch list.
Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): No semifinalists. Julio Jones was on the watch list.
Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Arenas, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
John Mackey Award (tight end): Semifinalists announced Nov. 16.
Lou Groza Award (kicker): Tiffin, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Bronki Nagusrki Award (defensive player): Finalists announced Nov. 19. Arenas, Cody and McClain are all on the watch list.
Ray Guy Award (punter): Semifinalists announced Nov. 13.
Rotary Lombard Award (lineman): Cody and McLain, semifinalists. Finalists announced Wednesday.
Ted Hendricks Awards (defensive end): Midseason watch list announced in mid-November. No Alabama players were on the preseason watch list.
Rimington Trophy (center): Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Eddie Robinson Award (coach): Finalists announced Dec. 9.
George Munger Award (coach): Nick Saban, semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23.
Broyles Award (assistant coach): Finalists announced Nov. 30.
Walter Campbell Trophy (scholar-athlete, formerly known as the Draddy Trophy): No finalists. Colin Peek was a semifinalist.


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