It was made abundantly clear from Alabama football’s first drive in its win against Middle Tennessee State the Crimson Tide will heavily feature its tight ends under new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.
A total of four different tight ends saw playing time on the Tide’s first drive of the season. Danny Lewis Jr. and Amari Niblack were the first two on the field as they help create space for Jase McClellan to pick up yards on an outside run during the drive. Robbie Ouzts and CJ Dippre were the next two to get into the action as Alabama got closer to scoring position. This duo was on the field when Jalen Milroe ran in the Tide’s first score.
Tight Ends who played on Alabama first drive:
Danny Lewis Jr.
— Justin Smith (@Jdsmith31Smith) September 2, 2023
An increased involvement of the tight end position was expected under Rees due to how the position was use when he was at Notre Dame. Nick Saban feels this is a better tight end group than Alabama has had in years past.
“I thought the tight ends did okay,” Saban said after Alabama defeated Middle Tennessee. “I think we have better tight ends on our team than we’ve had in the past. CJ (Dippre) gives us something we haven’t had, which is a good, strong, solid blocker at Y. Amari (Niblack) is a really good pass receiver. He made a really nice catch down the middle today. He’s improved his blocking. Danny (Lewis) is a good blocker and a good Y. Robbie Ouzts is kind of an H-back, old-fashioned fullback type of guy that can do certain things really well. So that group is, I think, much better than we’ve had in the last couple years. We’ve had to play an offensive tackle at tight end to be able to do some of the things that we’re doing now. So I’m pleased with the progress that group has made, and hopefully, that’ll help us in the future. It’s hard to run the ball on the perimeter when you don’t have guys that can block at tight end. We’ve got power at tackle, so hopefully, we can continue to improve on how effectively we can run the ball, as well, because of those two things, including the tight ends.”
Look out for more multiple tight-end looks for Alabama in the future.
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Justin Smith is the Director of Recruiting for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via jdsmith31smith