De’Rickey Wright became commitment No. 14 for the Crimson Tide last week when he committed to Alabama over offers from LSU, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, among many others.
“I just really wanted to go there,” the Attalla (Ala.) Etowah product said. “I didn’t want to waste any time, so I just went ahead and committed. I really didn’t have the urge to build it up and everything. I just wanted to be a part of the Crimson Tide family, so I pulled the trigger.”
Here’s a little crootin’ news to kick off Gump Day. Wright committed last week and it went way under the radar with all the hoopla surrounding the hoops program. He’s a positionless recruit at the moment, but is a 6’3” 220 pound player that can play safety, linebacker, or most anywhere on offense.
Plus he has a refreshing attitude. I don’t think this is a guy that will have much drama in his recruitment.
Bernier is one of two punters on Alabama’s 2019 roster along with sophomore Skyler DeLong. The Tide also signed Hoover (Ala.) product Will Reichard this offseason, and the true freshman kicked field goals and punted in the first scrimmage of the spring this past Saturday.
“We have a new freshman kicker, who kicked well today. He also punts, and he punted well today,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “And then we have the other guys, who actually were better today than what they’ve been in the past, which is what our hope is that we can develop them and get them to improve.”
Mike Bernier’s career has definitely been an odd one. After we all thought he graduated and exhausted his eligibility, he was granted an extra year and just reappeared on the Tide roster. Now, as an incumbent starter, he’s entering the transfer portal?
Hopefully, it just means that Skyler DeLong has fixed whatever it was that plagued him during the start of his freshman season. Saban seemed pretty positive about him, and was also quite positive about freshman kicker/punter Will Reichard. Word is that he has been absolutely phenomenal thus far. I guess he hasn’t been on campus long enough to pick up the curse.
What will Sark do in a realm outside of “not much”? More than anything, Sarkisian will want to use Tua’s arm with quick throws. He will want to minimize the number of hits the Tide star takes during the season. There will likely be more passes to running backs than last season, even without Josh Jacobs in the backfield.
The ‘West Coast’ offense is known more for horizontal than vertical passing. That does not mean Tua will cease to sling some bombs to arguably the four best wideouts in college football. Some of those explosive plays will likely result from play-action passes.
And the Tide will run behind what can become the most physical offensive line in several seasons. It is too early to predict the offensive line first unit at mid-season. But if it by then includes true freshman, Evan Neal or Deonte Brown at guard the Tide could have a run-blocking fierceness that ends short-yardage failures.
“We have implemented a good amount of things that Sark likes to run and he has run in the past,” quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said. “But we still have a good amount of the things that we have had last year. So, it’s not too much of a learning curve.”
Here’s a couple of good pieces on Steve Sarkisian as the new Tide offensive coordinator. He’s a direct disciple of the Bill Walsh west-coast offense. At this point in the meta of football, that means very little, as most of the old offensive archetypes have all blended into the spread, and now manifest more in staple/constraint play call philosophy than in formations.
In any case, expect this new offense to look similar to 2018, but with a little more of the horizontal spacing from the 2014-2016 seasons with Lane Kiffin calling the offense.
Now comes the “Tide Loyalty Points,” which appears to be a joint response from Alabama athletics and the student government to address Saban’s concerns and incentivize committed attendance.
“Look, our players work too hard and they deserve to have everything and people supporting them in every way and have tremendous spirit for what they’ve done,” Saban said last fall. “And they might not be able to continue to do it and we’re going to work hard to continue that but there’s a part of it that other people need to support them, too. And there has to be a spirit that makes it special to play here because that’s what makes it special to be here. And it that’s not here, does it continue to be special to be here or not? That’s the question everybody has to ask and I’m asking it right now.”
I’m a few years removed from UA now, so this doesn’t really affect me. But any student readers that haven’t checked your emails, go see what you missed. I’m not sure it’s the solution to fixing the attendance issue, but at least someone is giving it a shot.
That’s all for today. Roll Tide!