Peek Anxious For First Bama Game

When Alabama Coach Nick Saban talks about finding receivers to complement Julio Jones, it's natural to think of additional wide receivers. But there are other eligible receivers, including the tailback and the tight end. And who among Crimson Tide fans doesn't want to see more passes to the tight end?

Alabama throwing passes to the tight end would also be quite satisfactory to Colin Peek, who figures to be the Crimson Tide's starting tight end this year. "I think any tight end wants to catch the ball," Peek said following practice Wednesday. "At the same time, I think top be a complete playeer you have to block. I try to focus on being well-rounded. We all do. But it's always fun to catch passes."

Peek knows something about catching passes. Before transferring to Bama prior to the 2008 season, he was the starting tight end at Georgia Tech. He caught 25 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown in that sophomore season.

Last year Alabama used two tight ends frequently, but they were more specialized that this year's tight end corps, Peek said. Last year Nick Walker was the pass-catcher and Travis McCall was the blocker.

"I think last year that was something that may have hurt us when we had certain tight ends in certain situations," Peek said. "It predicated what defenses knew that we were going to do with those people.

This year, he said, "We're all multifunctional, all able to do everything. I think that's going to be a positive aspect of our offense."

When Georgia Tech changed coaches (from Chan Gailey to Paul Johnson) and from offensive schemes (from multiple to triple option), Peek had a decision to make. Upon learning that Johnson's offense didn't use a tight end and that he'd have to learn a new position, he took "about a minute" to decide to transfer.

There was a little Alabama interest in his background. For one thing, Alabama had been very much in the hunt for Peek when he selected Georgia Tech out of the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. For another, his grandfather, Robert Collins, was a member of Alabama's last Rose Bowl team in the mid-1940s. But the Peek family was all Florida Gators.

Blood is not thicker than a visit from Nick Saban, though. Colin said his father didn't push him to Florida, saying the player had to make the best decision for himself. When father met Saban the result was "Wow! This is the man you need to play for!"

Peek said he thinks he is playing for he best football coach in America in Saban.

Peek has had a tough road to what he hopes is his first game at Alabama on Sept. 5 against Virginia Tech. Ironically, that game will be in Atlanta, from whence he transferred. Tech sometimes practiced in the Georgia Dome, where the game will be played beginning at 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. central time). ABC will televise the game.

By all rights, Peek thought he would be playing for Alabama last year. Unfortunately, the NCAA in an unusual anti-player ruling decided he could not gain immediate eligibility, even though his position had been eliminated at Georgia Tech. Ordinarily, eligibility questions in recent years have been lenient in favor of players.

He was eligible to play in Alabama's Sugar Bowl match-up against Utah, but by then he had another hurdle. In practice prior to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, Peek suffered a stress fracture in his foot. He didn't get to play in the Sugar Bowl. He had surgery to put two screws in his foot last January. He has spent eight months rehabilitating and on Wednesday made his first appearance to the media not wearing a protective boot on his left foot.

"It's definitely nice to wear a new shoe," he said of his black sneaker. He's not completely healed, but he said he has been able to practice and he'll be able to play. He gave credit to his doctor, Angus McBride, and to his coaches and training staff for intelligent practice and rehabilitation plans.

He did not consider seeking a medical redshirt this season with a chance to possibly play in 2010.

"No matter what happened, I was going to play this season," Peek said. "It was one of those things where you sat out for a year. I don't think you want to sit out for another year. It was scary. You get frustrated just when you don't know how it's really going to work it out."

Peek, 6-6, 255, is anxious for a game. "It's just fun to be back in it," he said. "After a year when you're on the sidelines, you lose a little bit of that enthusiasm, just not worrying about the game as much. I'm just really hyped for it."

BamaMag Top Stories