Andy Pappanastos settling in as Alabama's kickerBy Joe Klingbeil | 09/27/2017 11:13pm
If there was a sandwich being named after you, what would you want to have on it?
“Probably some kind of chicken,” Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos said. “Maybe grilled chicken, healthier a little bit, but grilled chicken and barbeque sauce.”
Even though the last name of the Crimson Tide kicker has been the topic of conversations ranging from sandwich shops to the gridiron, and has been butchered more times than the meat in any deli, Pappanastos has let his play on the field do the talking for him.
Pappanastos has been perfect on all seven field goal attempts in the last three games since missing two 40-plus yard kicks in his Alabama debut against Florida State in early September.
“I think he’s done a really good job for us all year,” Nick Saban said. “The kicks he missed [in Mercedes-Benz Stadium] were a little longer kicks. But I’ve noticed other people having trouble kicking over there, too, with their footing. New field and all that, maybe not quite settled in. He’s been really consistent the last couple of games.”
Pappanastos, or "Papa-nasty" as some of his coaches and Alabama fans like to call him, is tied for the SEC lead with eight field goals this season, and has the best field goal percentage of any kicker with over 10 attempts in the conference.
After kicking only one field goal last season in his first year at Alabama, Pappanastos has been exactly what Saban and this coaching staff ordered after it lost three-year starter Adam Griffith to graduation. Now the former Ole Miss kicker, who sported powder blue the last two times the Rebels dethroned Alabama, gets a chance to compete against his former team.
“I graduated there, had a great time there, I still have a lot of great friends, and I really respect the place and the program a lot,” Pappanastos said. “The opportunity to come [to Alabama] it kind of came up, it was something that I couldn't really turn away, especially going back to my home state.”
At Ole Miss, Pappanastos played in only a handful of games, primarily as a kickoff specialist, and missed a 42-yard try, which was his only attempt at Ole Miss. But Pappanastos knew he had an opportunity to play for his childhood team once his time at Mississippi came to a close, and has made the most of it.
“From summer on I worked really hard to kind of be in the position that I am,” Pappanastos said. “And I just have great teammates around me. The snapper and the holder are really doing a good job, and they’ve done an awesome job since we started working in the summer. So they’re making it a little bit easier on me.”
A single score has decided the last three matchups between the Crimson Tide and Rebels, and Pappanastos has been on the victor’s side in all of them. However, the Montgomery native is finally home in crimson and white.
“It was always kind of a dream to come here,” Pappanastos said. “And once it came up it was pretty much a no-brainer.”