The lights at Bryant-Denny Stadium were not the only exciting new feature Alabama fans had to cheer about last week at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Punter Ty Perine made his Crimson Tide debut against Tennessee with a booming 42-yard kick in the third quarter. Alabama fans, who perhaps grew spoiled with the four-year results of former punter and current Green Bay Packer JK Scott, responded with a thunderous cheer of approval.
“I was super happy for him,” Alabama tight end Miller Forristall said. “He’s a guy I talked to before the game and told him you got nothing to worry about, just go out and kick the ball. He did a fantastic job. The crowd loved it and so do we.”
His second kick was even better. Perine hit a 51-yarder to the Tennessee 12-yard line, which was returned 22 yards by Marquez Calloway. He was tackled by none other than Perine, who met him head on.
“He came with bad intentions,” Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis said of the hit.
“For him to make that tackle head on, that just shows he’s not scared to play,” receiver Henry Ruggs III said.
Perine wasn’t the one who should have made the tackle, however.
“Actually, he made the tackle and I was supposed to be there,” Forristall said. “I went the wrong way. (Special teams coach Jeff) Banks was like, ‘hey, remember how I drew up that nice graphic and you were supposed to be in the middle?’ I was like, ‘oh.’ He said, ‘yeah, the punter made the tackle.’”
Punting has been a contentious issue at Alabama since Scott, who averaged 45 yards per kick over his UA career, left after 2017. Since then the punting situation has had a major drop off.
Last year Alabama’s punting tandem of Mike Bernier and Skyler DeLong combined for a 35.8 average. Before Saturday, DeLong and Will Reichard combined for a 34.4 average. Although he’s punted just twice, Perine averages 46.5 yards.
“Whenever somebody gets an opportunity you want them to make the best of it, and that’s something what we preach,” Ruggs said. “Whoever it is you got to do what you got to do. For him to come in and get two big kicks and to make that tackle, that was big for us.
“You got the reaction from the crowd as soon as the ball was in the air. I knew it was a good kick but I definitely didn’t think it was going that far.”
Reach Edwin Stanton at 205-722-0226, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2
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