For what feels like decades, Alabama has been searching for a solution at kicker to dig them out of the trench of missed opportunities and misfortune in recent years.
It had begun to feel hopeless for Crimson Tide fans that this trend would simply become the norm of the program. But this season sophomore Will Reichard is changing the narrative.
Reichard is currently perfect on the year going 8/8 on field goals with a long of 52 along with an errorless 37/37 on extra points. It’s this kind of production and flashes of greatness that made head coach Nick Saban feel comfortable in calling him the best kicker in the country.
But Saban believed that even from his time as a freshman.
“Last year after the Auburn game, I called Coach (Gene) Stallings to see how he was going and he said ‘If I was you, I’d go recruit the best kicker in the country.’ And I said, ‘We’ve got the best kicker in the country. He’s just hurt.'”, Saban said during his radio show on Thursday.
Reichard had missed a large portion of his freshman season due to a hip flexor injury that he could not overcome. He went 4/7 in his limited time as the starting placekicker but had shown some potential as to what he could become.
Now Reichard is considered a weapon that compliments Alabama’s offense and provides a sense of comfort whenever the team is trying to add some points to the scoreboard.
“It takes a lot of pressure off of you in a lot of situations where you feel very confident that you can kick a field goal from, let’s say, 35 yards and in,” Saban said about Reichard back in October. “And that’s very comforting, aight, because a lot of times you get in situations and there’s nothing more demoralizing for a team when you have an opportunity to kick a field goal, you’re already upset because you didn’t score a touchdown or didn’t continue and then you miss it and it’s really a little bit of a psychological letdown.
“So, to have a good kicker is really, really a positive. I think it’s a weapon, and I think Will has done a really, really good job so far.”
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77