TideSports College Football Preview


Returning starters: Joseph Bulovas, Mike Bernier, Jaylen Waddle
Starters lost: Josh Jacobs


Joseph Bulovas handled the kickoffs (pretty well), field goals and extra points last season. The punting situation never really resolved itself. Mike Bernier punted more than anyone else (25 times) and is currently on Alabama’s active roster although he did not punt in August drills. Skyler DeLong, who punted 16 times last season, also returns so the point is moot. Josh Jacobs handled most of the kickoff returns last season but Jaylen Waddle will reprise his punt return role.


This is where things get interesting because of one player, Will Reichard. The incoming freshman from Hoover was the No. 1 prep kicker in most 2019 recruiting rankings and his performance in Alabama’s August scrimmages (which are practices, not games, but are the only data currently available) has been stellar. Reichard could also be called on to handle punting duties but that was a more spirited competition with DeLong, who has a powerful leg but needs consistency.


Alabama’s last field goal of 50 yards are more was Adam Griffith’s 50-yarder at Auburn in 2015. Opponents were 3-for-3 on field goals from 50 yards or beyond in 2018.


Reichard will be watched more closely than an Avengers movie in the first game. Waddle and (potentially) Henry Ruggs III, among others, give explosive potential in the return game. Coverage has been traditionally good for Alabama, which has plenty of athletic talent again this season.


Alabama missed nine extra points last season. Van Tiffin, the UA kicker from 1983 to 1986, was 135-for-135 in his career.


“I don’t know exactly what the stats were, but both punters — Will (Reichard) and Skyler (DeLong) — punted the ball really well. Will was really good on field goals. I think Joe (Bulovas) was pretty good on field goals. There’s a lot of competition out there.”
Nick Saban after Alabama’s first August scrimmage.