Vogler Optimistic About Tide Offense

To be fair, Alabama has had only four practice days, only two of them in full gear, as the Crimson Tide got spring practice underway a week before the players joined other students at The University in spring break. That doesn't necessarily mean that Bama didn't make progress in those early drills. Indications, though, are that players aren't exactly sure what the offense is going to look like.

The wild card – emphasis on "wild" – is new Alabama Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban didn't bring Kiffin in because he worried about Kiffin being out of a job. Kiffin is in the Bama camp to install and run the offense.

Just because Kiffin has a long history in California, including his most recent job before landing in Tuscaloosa being head coach at USC, that doesn't mean Bama's offense is going to look like clowns spilling out of a Volkswagen.

As Alabama junior tight end Brian Vogler put it, "All of us – everybody that's involved in the offense now – has been in the pro style."

Whether the current fad, the past-paced offense, would work at Bama "is hard to say," Vogler said. "I think we're a team that's made to be maulers. Our guys are going to be real physical with you, hit you from every aspect of the game and hit you in every direction.

"I just don't know if that's really our style, being speedy and trying to be elusive, dodge people like other schools do."

That doesn't mean Vogler doesn't expect some changes. "Obviously, there are new wrinkles," he said. "Every coach brings his own wrinkles to it. But it's Saban, so you're going to see the same stuff we've done.

"The offense will be a bit more dynamic. It's hard to explain."

Over the past half dozen years, Alabama has had perhaps the nation's most balanced offense, yards rushing and yards passing very close. In 2013 the Tide got a little out of balance, but not much. Bama averaged about 41 yards more passing than yards rushing per game.

Vogler said that he understands the questions about the offense because of the addition of Kiffin as offensive coordinator. "People know who he is," Vogler said. "Very high profile."

The players, Vogler said, see him as "a hands-on coach, player-friendly. He walks you through stuff the way he envisions it. He really helps us a lot as players."

Vogler also understands there are high expectations of a veteran group of tight ends. But, he warns, "Nobody can be perfect. Everyone is a perfectionist, but perfect is not obtainable. For us, we have the goal of being excellent on every play we're out there. Excellence is what we're striving for. We're looking at a lot of stuff we did last year from things that didn't really work that well for us. We're working on how we can improve that but also making general improvements."

Although the 6-7, 265-pound Vogler is known primarily as a blocker, last year he caught eight passes for 71 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown against Mississippi State.

Needless to say, Vogler hopes the tight ends are more involved as receivers under Kiffin. "That would be awesome," he said.

Alabama will have a new quarterback in 2013 after three years of A.J. McCarron handling that job. Vogler said that he and the other receivers have been working on timing with the quarterbacks.

"It's getting there," he said. "Obviously, there's that level of comfort that you need. It's nerve-racking. I can't imagine being a quarterback and stepping in and running reps with the starters. Not to sound cocky about it, but it's just a part of it. They all have their flashes of greatness so far. We're working everybody and giving everybody an opportunity, which is awesome. I think it's fair but everybody's doing really well so far. Once they all get that level of comfort, which of course will come with more practice, they'll do great."

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