TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Controversy followed Leigh Tiffin for the past week as South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier accused the Tide kicker of using a small piece of white tape to mark the spot of his kicks.
The back and fourth between Spurrier and Tide coach Nick Saban made headlines for the several days that followed.
There was no tape on the field Saturday as Tiffin scored all 12 Alabama points with his four field goals.
Afterwards, Tiffin addressed the tape issue.
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“I guess I need to thank Coach Spurrier for helping me get my focus and concentration level raised a little bit,” he said.
“You know, fans and people who don’t have a lot to do with the kicking game probably didn’t understand that, but, to us, it was such a non-issue, such a minor detail. It wasn’t even worth mention, but he did, and that’s fine.
“The tape was just something we had used, or grass, whatever, we would just use whatever was sitting out there small, something that would stand out. Basically, the only thing it was used for was to help me line up if PJ was getting to make a call on the line or anything like that. It’s not a big deal at all. As long as PJ has his finger on the ground, I still line up the same. I don’t think it makes one bit of difference, either way. I don’t.”
Tiffin’s four kicks vaulted him into second on the school’s all-time scoring list with 337 points and just eight away from Phillip Doyle’s record.
An injury suffered in the pregame warm-up all but ended the day for Alabama’s leading receiver Colin Peek. The tight end played the first play from scrimmage, but changed into a warm-up suit and watched the rest of the game from the sideline.
Saban said the injury didn’t appear to be more than a sprained MCL suffered when a teammate fell on his leg as the team warmed up before the game.
“He tried to play, thought he could play, doctors thought he might be able to play, he tried to play and didn’t feel like he could push off and cut as well as he needed to,” Saban said.
Arenas big in return
Tide senior cornerback Javier Arenas made his presence known in his return to the lineup.
A week after sitting out the South Carolina win with a rib injury, Arenas made a few big defensive plays while recording a team-high 13 tackles that included 3.5 for loss.
His third-quarter sack of quarterback Jonathan Crompton dropped the Vols for an 11-yard loss and took them out of field-goal range.
There was no sugarcoating the loss for Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin.
While proud of out-gaining the No. 1 team on the road in front of a hostile crowd, the first-year coach was in no mood to celebrate.
“I don’t believe in moral victories; we should have won that game,” Kiffin said. “I think all of you guys that were there would agree with that, but I’m happy with the way we played and at times we got out-manned.”
Vols receiver Denarius Moore, who recovered the onside kick to set up the final drive, echoed his coaches’ words.
“Personally, I’m mad that we lost,” he said. “But I am also happy that we sent out a message today that we are the hardest working group out there.”