TUSCALOOSA | A lot has changed for Cade Foster since last season.
The University of Alabama kicker altered his technique in the offseason, worked on his mental approach, and even changed the way he worked out. The NCAA brought about another change when it moved the kickoff spot five yards closer.
The results, at least through three games, have been different as well.
Foster already has converted as many field goals (two) as he made all of last season, and both have come from 51 yards. The Crimson Tide's kickoff man and designated option for longer field goal tries, Foster has barely missed two other tries, both from 52 yards. As for kickoffs, he already has recorded 11 touchbacks, six more than he had all of last year.
"The five yards definitely helps as far as touchbacks go. I've definitely improved, my kick average in that game was probably over 70 yards and last year I was not near that," Foster said. "I've definitely improved in that area and I just got to keep doing that for the rest of the season. We've only played three games."
Foster said he worked closely in the off season with UA strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran, and watched a lot of film in an effort to improve his technique.
"I think he's kicking the ball better than he was a year ago. He's tightened up his technique. He's always had a strong leg - the struggle has always been consistency," said UA coach Nick Saban. "He's kicking field goals better, he's hitting the ball better. Even though he missed a couple of long ones, he's made a couple of long ones. The ones he missed were certainly long enough and were struck well."
Foster couldn't help but be excited when he heard in the offseason that the kickoff mark would be advanced five yards. Kickoffs were an area of struggle for Foster last year, but he believes his own improvement -- and not just the new spot -- has played a role in his success this year.
"I was pretty excited. At the same time I was like, 'Man, I'm not going to get as many tackles this year,' said the former high school linebacker. "I was pretty excited when I heard it. I knew that regardless of the rule change I had to improve. If it wouldn't have been a rule change, I still would be doing pretty well."
Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0196.