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The Way It Is

Former Alabama standout gives praise to wide receivers Calvin Ridley, Amari Cooper

Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley (No. 3) catches TD pass versus Georgia in 2015 matchup: Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Fans have seen the best model of consistency in Alabama football under head coach Nick Saban since 2008.

After taking over for Mike Shula in 2007, Saban has coached the program to five Southeastern Conference championships, four national championships and a multitude of top-ranked signing classes.

While the majority of people look at the 2008 season as a time of success on the horizon, Alabama had some moments in the previous year that were special. 

Reflecting back to 2007, the Tide started the season at 2-0 before hosting No. 16-ranked Arkansas at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

In a high scoring affair, Saban preached to his team about how to finish games. With the Razorbacks holding a 38-34 lead in the final seconds of regulation, quarterback John Parker Wilson found wide receiver Matt Caddell in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown – delivering Alabama a 41-38 win and a 3-0 start to the year. 

2007 #16 Arkansas vs. Alabama Highlights

(Caddell’s TD comes at 24:43)

Caddell finished the game with nine catches for 91 yards and a score, while ending the season on career-highs in receptions (40) and receiving yards (475) with two touchdowns. As a guest on The Way It Is last week (Thursday), he discussed with Matt Suleski and yours truly about Mike Shula, learning how to win under Saban, and two receivers he would model his game after.  

“I was a smaller type of receiver, but I like how Calvin Ridley plays,” Caddell said.

“He can play inside and outside. He’s also a deep ball threat. I loved the way Amari Cooper played the game. He was so multiple at the receiver position. He ran great routes and knew how to set up a defender. So, those would be my two favorites so far. But if I was playing the college game, I would try to implement my game like them.”

Ridley, a Florida native, is going into his junior season.  

He brought in 1,045 receiving yards as a freshman, and carried a team-high 72 catches for 769 yards in 2016. Both Amari Cooper and Julio Jones took advantage of year three at Alabama, and Ridley intends on doing the same.

He’s been featured on multiple preseason award watch lists.

Check out the interview below.

Stephen M. Smith is a managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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