It’s a sensitive subject in the Alabama wide receiving meeting room. It’s a sensitive subject because everyone there wants to be a good teammate.
There exists a perception of wide receivers, fairly or unfairly, that they are me-first type players. That perception likely exists due to the reputation of NFL players, because, quite frankly, you don’t see it as an issue much in college football.
So it’s against that backdrop that Alabama wide receivers struggle with the fact that behind Calvin Ridley, the team’s leading receiver, Jerry Jeudy and Cam Sims are the next two wide receivers and both have just 13 receptions each. Running back Bo Scarbrough is actually second on the team with 14 receptions.
It’s a fact with which Ridley also struggles.
“I feel so weird when (coach Mike Locksley) pull up the (receiving chart), it’s like 50 to 10 and we all look and laugh,” Ridley said. “I wish everybody could have 50 catches.”
For the record Ridley has 55 receptions for 896 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
“It’s like a weird feeling I get when those charts come up,” he said. “I know these guys are working very hard in practice every day just to go out there and not get involved. It all comes down to you being a good teammate and wanting to win. That’s all there is. That’s what I think about it.”
Ridley knows everyone on the team is trying their hardest to improve the passing game. It’s why he emphasized that being a good teammate is important.
“We try to get everybody the ball. It’s not happening,” he said. “We hope to change that this game. We hope to get better at that. We’ve got guys. We just have to get everybody going. There are good guys in that room.
“Teams can cloud me and take me out of the game and it’s hard. We try to get guys the ball. It’s not like guys are not open but sometimes some things happens. I can feel like any guy in my room can do it. They all can break out.
“Yeah, it can get frustrating because I feel like we can definitely go out there and sling the ball around. We’ve got the guys to do it. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”
Clemson defenders say they know if they take away Ridley it severely hampers the UA passing game.
“Yes I do for sure,” Clemson defensive back Ryan Carter said. “I think he’s a big reason why they have success, and we’re going to have to do our best to try and limit those big plays. Calvin Ridley’s just a special player for them, and again, if you take away him, it’s a whole different ball game. So we’re going to do our best to try and limit his success and limit what we can do defensively for him to not as much of a big receiving game as possible.”
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.