About halfway through this season, when Howard had 13 catches for something under 200 yards, we mused, “Maybe they are saving him for the national championship game.”
As it turns out, Howard had a similar regular season this year as he did last. In 2015 prior to the CFP, Howard had 30 catches for 396 yards and 2 touchdowns. He added the big game against Clemson and also had 3 catches for 59 yards in the semifinal game against Michigan State to finish his junior year with 38 receptions for 602 yards and 4 TDs.
This season, the 6-6, 251-pound Howard has 37 receptions for 445 yards and 2 TDs through Alabama’s first 13 games.
Also, as it turns out, Howard and his Alabama teammates are once again in the CFP.
Howard’s next chance to add to his receiving totals will come against Washington at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31, a CFP semifinal game.
When Nick Saban arrived as Alabama head coach almost 10 years ago, among the things he said regarding his philosophy is that he uses the tight end in many ways and that he recruits a lot of tight ends.
That has proved to be true, even though the tight ends are not usually the most prolific in the Southeastern Conference insofar as receptions.
A typical Alabama offensive formation will use two tight ends, though not always in the same way.
The traditional on-the-line tight end (Y) may be joined by another on the line, two tights.
Or one tight end may be on the line, another in a slot (H).
Howard ordinarily is the slot man and Hale Hentges (6-5, 256) the traditional tight end.
Alabama Tight Ends
O.J. Howard (6-6, 251, Sr.)
Miller Forristall (6-5, 225, Fr.)
Hale Hentges (6-5, 256, So.)
Brandon Greene (6-5, 295, Sr.)
Howard is the most-used as a receiver.
Freshman Miller Forristall has 5 receptions for 73 yards, Hentges 3-10, and Greene 1-5.
All are accomplished blockers, particularly Greene, who sometimes is used as an offensive tackle.