ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Special Teams Notebook The Crimson Tide's special teams are led by sophomore Javier Areans (Tampa, Fla.), who ranks third in the SEC in punt returns (13.29) and sixth in kickoff returns (22.4). Here is a look at the UA special teams heading into Saturday's game at Ole Miss
Alabama returns all but one of its specialists from last season.
The Crimson Tide’s special teams have shown marked improvement during the first six games of the 2007 season.
Sophomore Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla.) is the Crimson Tide’s top return specialist.
Arenas is third in the SEC in punt returns (13.29) and sixth in kickoff returns (22.4).
In six games, Arenas has 14 punt returns for 186 yards, including a 69-yard return against Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
In 19 career games, he has 45 punt returns for 472 yards (10.8 average) and two touchdowns. He had a 65-yard punt return against Florida International and an Alabama bowl record 86-yard punt return against Oklahoma State in 2006.
The Alabama career record for most punt returns is three for touchdowns held by Harry Gilmer.
Arenas has 10 kickoff returns for 224 yards (22.4 average) this season, including a 45-yard return against Western Carolina in the season opener.
In 19 career games, Arenas has 28 returns for 568 yards (20.3 average).
Junior Jonathan Lowe (Phenix City, Ala.) is the backup to Arenas.
Lowe has nine kickoff returns for 224 yards (17.6 average) this season. He made his Alabama debut with a 23-yard kickoff return and a 17-yard punt return against Western Carolina on Sept. 1.
Sophomore Leigh Tiffin (Muscle Shoals, Ala.) is the Crimson Tide’s starting kicker, handling all kickoffs, field goal and extra attempts.
Tiffin is third in the SEC in field goals per game (1.5) and 11th in scoring (7.83).
He leads the SEC with four field goals of 40 or more yards this season. He is 4-of-7 from 40-49 yards and his 57.1 percent accuracy from that distance ranks fifth in the league.
Tiffin is 20-for-20 in extra points this season and 32-of-33 in his two-year career.
Tiffin is 9-of-14 on field goal attempts this season and has been successful on five of his last six attempts. He has converted 17-of-27 career field goal attempts for the Tide.
He appeared in five games last season and hit 8-of-13 field goals and 12-of-13 extra point attempts.
Sophomore Andrew Friedman (Fairhope, Ala.) made his 2007 season debut with his first career extra point attempt against Arkansas on Sept. 15. He has now played in four games at UA.
Senior Jamie Christensen (Norcross, Ga.), who has also handled kickoffs the last three years, has hit 29 of 42 career field goal attempts and 40 of 42 career extra points.
He also has three-game winning field goals to his credit, beating Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas Tech during the 2006 season.
Christensen is nursing a quad injury and has not seen action this season.
Sophomore punter P.J. Fitzgerald (Coral Springs, Fla.) is back for his second year as the Crimson Tide’s punter and holder.
Fitzgerald has punted 35 times for 1,348 yards (38.5 average), including a career-high 58-yard punt at Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
He had a career-high 10 punts in the loss to Florida State, including two that traveled more than 50 yards.
Fitzgerald punted 10 times for a 40-yard average against Houston on Oct. 6.
Fitzgerald leads the SEC with 11 punts inside the 20-yard line. He has dropped 11 of his 28 punts inside the 20-yard line and owns the fourth-best percentage (39.3 percent) in the SEC.
In 18 career games, Fitzgerald has 92 punts for 3,524 yards (38.3 average). He has 27 punts inside the opponents 20-yard line.
He punted 57 times for 2,176 yards (38.2 average) last year.
The Crimson Tide is breaking in its third long snapper in as many years this season as they replace last year’s snapper Luke Spaulding.
Junior Brian Selman (Vestavia Hills, Ala.) has handled all snapping duties this year.