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Alabama specialists excited fans, created positive attention on A-Day

Photo comes from Thomas Flecther's twitter

The kicking game has been an issue for Alabama football since the departure of Jeremy Shelley and after JK Scott took to the National Football League, punting took a step back last season as well for the Crimson Tide. 

With a mist of rain occurring throughout A-Day and 60,000+ fans in attendance, the common theme at Bryant-Denny Stadium was that the program may finally have its elite kicker. 

Will Reichard, a three-star from Hoover (Ala.) High School, convinced all that he is the man for the job – following him nailing a 43-yard field goal in the first quarter. It was the first points for team White and it got supporters cheering immediately.

While sophomore Joseph Bulovas continues to have trouble with extra points and long field goals, Reichard made all four of his PAT’s (point after touchdowns) and even averaged 42.2 yards per punt on six attempts. 

Skyler Delong had a rough freshman year and part of it was due to following a legend. 

The South Carolina native was replaced by Mike Bernier in the middle of the season and watched the walk-on be a huge factor in Alabama winning a Southeastern Conference Championship and earning a berth in its fifth consecutive College Football Playoff. 

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Changes made to his punter style caused frustration for Delong; however, it seems like Nick Saban and special teams’ coach Jeff Banks are fine with him going back to what he does best. 

As one of the nation’s top specialist in the 2018 recruiting cycle, Delong looked very much improved on A-Day – averaging 47.5 yards a punt on four boots. He dropped two attempts inside the 20-yard line of team White and had a long punt that traveled 54 yards. 

In its five national titles under Saban, the Tide has at least had one part of its kicking game perform well.

The improvement of Delong and the capabilities of Reichard could give Alabama both punting and kicking for next season. It already has the return game weapons in Jaylen Waddle and Trevon Diggs – with Henry Ruggs mixed in – but the kicking game looks good. 

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

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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