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Media says Bama's chances of winning it all gone without Waddle. Do you agree? Let us know.

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The Old Senior Writer
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 57
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Life without Jaylen Waddle, the Tide rolls on

Clemson has two players who are legitimate Heisman candidates, their outstanding quarterback Trevor Lawrence and their great running back Travis Etienne. Anytime you have two legitimate players up for this award, you have a special team and Clemson does.

Alabama had four players who were considered legitimate Heisman candidates, their outstanding quarterback Mac Jones, their great running back Najee Harris and a pair of receivers, each with qualities that put them on the list as well, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. To have four players who could legitimately be on the list as potential winners has not been accomplished by any team in recent memory.

With Waddle gone, does the Tide dry up as suggested by ESPN mouthpieces David Pollock and Kirk Herbstreit? Of course not. Did they not witness Alabama’s “Next Man Up” philosophy when virtually unheard of Slade Bolden came in to take his place? Bolden comes in virtually cold and catches six passes for 94 yards, a day any receiver would be proud of.

Now it’s just my own professional opinion, but I don’t think the Tide is in as much trouble as some media mouthpieces have inferred.

“Slade’s really quick,” head coach Nick Saban told the press. “A lot of guys like Slade become very effective slot kind of players because they’re quick out of a break. They’ve got good initial quickness. Really good hands. Very smart and heady in terms of their instincts and their ability to make quick decisions. That’s something that fit well for him. I know he played quarterback … he played all over the place in high school, but he’s done a good job.”

Also, he’s good friends with Jones and comes in “in sync” for some time now. He and Jones have been throwing partners since his arrival in Tuscaloosa. Whenever Jones wanted extra throwing time, he knew he could always call on Bolden and he’d come, early morning or midnight.

Nothing changes in Tuscaloosa. Bolden will dare a team to now double up on Smith and leave him in single coverage. While Bolden may be a step slower than Waddle, so is almost every other man in college football. What teams will learn, as Tennessee did, is that Bolden is faster in his breaks than most men who will try and cover him and has the same kind of hands that both Waddle and Smith have and will come down with the ball, no matter the tightness of coverage.

This is Bolden’s third year on campus and he knows the system inside and out. This is not a rookie being throw to the wolves. This is a multi-talented player who has played quarterback, he even practices at QB now at Alabama in special wildcat roles. He also did special teams and defensive back as well in high school. He was the Gatorade Louisiana football player of the year coming out of high school and was also a top baseball player. Let’s not even mention that he’s a 4.0 student and has brains as well or his 1622 yards passing his senior year for 20 touchdowns or his other 20 touchdowns rushing the ball.

This was a star in wings just waiting his chance and while no one wants to get that chance in a circumstance like this, Waddle told everyone, “Don’t worry, Slade’s got this”. The two are close friends Bolden was glad to see Waddle post surgery smiling and joking as always and Bolden’s not just playing to let his own light shine, he’s doing it for his friend too.

The team knows Bolden, his grit, his talent and his ability to fight for and come down with the ball in any situation. Jones is not afraid to just put it up in tight coverage, he’s seen Bolden win those 50/50 kind of balls too many times to worry. In actuality, he may have thrown more balls over the last two years to Bolden than to Waddle anyway. Their workouts together have built a huge trust factor that in truth, makes Bolden an “Old Man” in the lineup.

So forget the media mouthpieces who say Alabama isn’t the same team without Waddle, that their chances of winning it all have diminished, it’s just “Next Man Up” in Tuscaloosa and boy, what a man they have in Bolden.

Larry Burton is the senior writer at Touchdown Alabama Magazine and has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports. He was Bleacher Report’s #1 college football writer in reads and comments and now has slowed down his writing from that hectic pace. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at LBSPORTSWRITER on Twitter.

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Joined: 4 years ago
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Larry, as we all know our opinions can be unilateral and not well accepted by the bilateral.   I’m of the opinion that an exquisite racehorse should be limited to what they do exquisitely.   I wouldn’t use the exquisite racehorse to be a packhorse nor take visitors from the south rim down to the Colorado.  Waddle is dang near unmatched in running,catching,jumping and leaving everyone behind.  Thats the only thing I would allow him to do.    RTR


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