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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Saban: Spotting kicks not uncommon

ESPN.com news services

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama coach Nick Saban said his kickers will not use tape to spot field goals and extra points from now on.

After reviewing video of South Carolina's 20-6 loss to Alabama (No. 2 BCS, No. 1 AP) last week, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier pointed out Leigh Tiffin's use of the white tape to spot his kicks and reported it to the Southeastern Conference. The video showed Tiffin quickly putting the tape in his pocket after kicking, Spurrier said.

Spurrier said on Wednesday that he was told by the conference that what Tiffin did was against the rules.

Saban said he didn't know Tiffin was using the tape and said it isn't worth risking a 5-yard penalty. However, he says Tide coaches have found Tiffin wasn't alone in spotting the ball.

"We certainly don't want our players to do anything that's illegal," Saban said. "It is a 5-yard penalty if you do anything to enhance the spot. We've done some research on it, and over half the teams in the league do something with it.

"They put grass there or a piece of mud or wherever it is, so the kicker knows where the ball's going to be spotted. We even saw verification where last year South Carolina's kicker did it."

Tiffin hit both extra points and field goals of 25 and 35 yards in Alabama's win Saturday. He also missed a 49-yarder. The senior is 9-of-11 on field goals and 21-of-23 on PATs this season.

Spurrier stopped short of accusing Alabama coaches of intentionally breaking the rule.

"I heard that was not supposed to happen, you're not supposed to use anything like that," Spurrier said. "I guess Alabama didn't know it was against the rules. They said you're not supposed to use anything to spot the ball there. I don't know if they knew it was illegal or legal but they dang sure did it last week. It looked funny watching the tape. Maybe they thought it was permissible. Maybe the kicker did it on his own. I don't know."

The NCAA football rulebook (Rule 6-3; Article 10; subsection d) says:

"Any device or material used to mark the spot of a scrimmage place kick or elevate the ball makes the kick illegal."

The exception to the 5-yard penalty is a kicking tee for kickoffs. Otherwise, it is a live-ball foul and a 5-yard penalty.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.