Geography Helped Him Make Decision

Alabama and Oklahoma don't often hook up in recruiting battles. It was a bit of a surprise earlier this month when Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron revealed he had been tempted to sign with the Sooners before choosing Bama. Junior Tide tight end Brian Vogler also considered Oklahoma when he was being recruited prior to the 2010 signing period.

One of the reasons for choosing a college is geography. That worked in Alabama's favor when Brian Vogler was a senior at Brookstone High School in Columbus, Ga. As his 2009 season was coming to a close, and the Crimson Tide was closing in on its first national championship under Nick Saban, Vogler considered the offers of Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, and Florida State.

"It kind of came down to Alabama and Oklahoma," Vogler said, "but I just couldn't deal with the distance. I'd rather drive than get stuck in Oklahoma City for hours on end."

Later this week, Vogler will be among 100-plus Alabama players going to New Orleans to complete preparations for the Sugar Bowl and a game against Oklahoma. The Tide, 11-1 and ranked third in the nation, meets the Sooners, 10-2 and ranked 10th in the nation, in the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 2.

He was the nation's 13th ranked tight end coming out of high school, arriving at Alabama just in time to be redshirted as Michael Williams earned the starting job for the Tide. Vogler was among the tight end combatants behind Williams in 2011 and 2012. This year he took over the starting job. Primarily a blocker, the 6-7, 260-pound Vogler had just three catches for 27 yards combined in 2011 and 2012. This year he nearly equaled that in Bama's second game of the year against Texas A&M when he had three catches for 24 yards and was selected by the coaching staff as one of the Alabama players of the week on offense.

Thus far this season Vogler has eight catches for 71 yards and one touchdown. The TD came against Mississippi State, another game in which Vogler was a player of the week honoree.

One of the interesting aspects of the Alabama-Oklahoma matchup is that the Sooners defensive coaching staff spent some time at Alabama a few years ago getting input from Bama coaches on the 3-4 defense, which Oklahoma has employed this year. Vogler said the primary resemblence to the two defenses is that "We've got really athjletic guys on our defense and that's what they have."

As for similarities when studying game tapes, Vogler said, "It's hard to compare. The teams they go up against are different types of offenses than our defense sees throughout the regular season. I'd say the styles are a little bit different."

Vogler, who said he has recovered from an ankle sprain that bothered him late in the season, said the 33-day layoff between the final game of the regular season and the Sugar Bowl can result in "little things like technique can sort of go away. I think that's great why on our first day we come in we start over from Day One and go back to techniques and fundamentals. I noticed right away that, 'Oops, I slipped up on that.' It's good to get those back in normal flow, everyday season routine."

Vogler has reason to be motivated for the Sugar Bowl game.

"I think for all of us it's sort of a respect thing," he said. "We want to go out and prove to people that we're one of the best teams in the country. We may not be in the perfect scenario to show people that, not in the national championship. But we are in a BCS game and we have a high stage, a high platform to show people our abilities and we want to highlight those."

And maybe at the same time Brian Vogler will be able to show Oklahoma what they missed on.

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