As a program that has lost more players to the first round of the NFL Draft than an entire conference (the ACC), Alabama is no stranger to losing highly-rated talent.
That trend has recently centered itself around the tight end position, as former Alabama tight end Preston Dial was nice enough to point out as he was watching the Senior Bowl.
Since 2008, Alabama has had a tight end make a catch in the senior bowl…just sayin.@mike_will89 Do work son!
— Preston Dial (@wpdial) January 25, 2013
The Crimson Tide has to pull this stunt yet again as it has lost Michael Williams at the position, a two-year starter that caught a career-high 24 passes in 2012 for 183 yards and four touchdowns.
Now a corps led by versatile tight end/H-Back Brian Vogler will try to fill the void.
“The thing about Mike was he was consistent, he was very reliable and that’s something all of us want to prove to the coaches; we’re consistent, we’re reliable, we can do the things that Mike did,” Vogler said. “Honestly we’re trying not to say so much about Mike so we can work toward these news guys in the future and see what all we can do collaborating our skill sets.”
Vogler, who provided relief for Kelly Johnson as the H-Back last season, said he has been working more as a tight end in spring to fill in for Johnson, leaving the H-Back position open for players like Harrison Jones and Malcolm Faciane.
But don’t forget true freshman O.J. Howard. The in-state product ranked by many as the best tight end in the 2013 class, enrolled early and has been turning heads in his first spring practices as a collegiate football player.
“He’s a whole new dimension to this offense,” Vogler said. “He’s very long, very athletic, very fast. He’s learning very fast and he takes teaching, which I think really says a lot about his character as a player. He’s making progress and I think he’ll be a viable offense to our offense.”
The gunslinger of the offense, AJ McCarron, known to lean on the tight end from time-to-time, is looking for a balanced player at the position.
“It doesn’t matter who is there. We’ve got to have a guy who can block and be a (pass receiver) at the same time,” McCarron said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys rotating in at that position. We’ve got to keep progressing and having them bond with the O-line and bond with the rest of the passing game – learn timing and routes and stuff like that.”