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Alabama’s wide receiver room growing to be good yards after catch playmakers

Alabama WR Germie Bernard (#5) runs with the ball in spring practice for the Crimson Tide.
Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

Alabama’s wide receiver room is growing to the personality of JaMarcus Shephard as its position coach.

He wants the position to be physical and take the ball every time they are on the field. Shephard looks for physicality in blocking, excellence in routes, exceptional speed, the ability to get open, and willingness to learn the playbook to be explosive.

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Jalen Hale suffered a knee injury, so the sophomore will miss the rest of spring practice. However, the Crimson Tide has other playmaking wide receivers that fans will see in the spring game. Last week, Alabama held its first scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium and head coach Kalen DeBoer spoke afterwards. He highlighted the wide receiver position as one that has caught on to the offensive scheme. DeBoer said everyone is rotating to get reps with the first-team and second-team offense to learn the quarterbacks. Alabama has a deep unit of receivers — headlined by Kendrick Law — but DeBoer is pleased with the group.

“We are giving a lot of guys chances to work with a different quarterback,” DeBoer said last week. “They have all rotated with the ones, they have all rotated with the twos… it is a lot of reps, but they are picking up the offense. We tried to keep it simple and let them play today, but when I looked back at the previous practices we were able to incorporate what we really want to do.”

DeBoer wants Alabama’s offense to push the ball down the field.

“They [Alabama’s wide receivers] have found ways to win and then finish the play by catching the ball, and they made some nice plays,” DeBoer said. “They broke some tackles, too. The yards after catch were impressive, and that is on the quarterbacks for ball placement and the offensive line with protection. We are very pleased with the progress. We are far from where we need to be, but the progress is where you want it.”

The last exceptional wide receiver room Alabama had was in 2019. The room had a quartet of first-round NFL Draft picks — DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, and Jaylen Waddle — and John Metchie as a second round selection.

We will see what becomes of this unit, but it does have potential to be good.

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Stephen M. Smith is the 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 10+ 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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