By (Molly Catherine Walsh)

Miller Forristall played in all 15 games during his first year with the Crimson Tide, including the SEC Championship where he started at the tight end position. He turned heads as a true freshman in games against Arkansas where he carried his first career pass for 32 yards and against MSU where he caught a career-high three passes.

The key to his successful season was getting a look at the play book ahead of time. As an early enrollee, Forristall joined Alabama on the practice field in January of 2016 which gave him plenty of opportunity to adjust to the Crimson Tide before he ever saw a game day in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Before he took on the tight-end position at Alabama, Forristall played tight-end at Cartersville High School in Georgia, except for his junior year when he played quarterback. Ironically, his time as a quarterback helped him to understand the position of tight-end the most. Due to his changed point of view he was able to gain a better understanding of defense, routes and concepts.

Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator and current Alabama Offensive Coordinator coach Brian Daboll will work hands on with Forristall in preparation for the new season. Although the coach might be new, it does not phase Forristall.

“Playing tight end is still playing tight end,” Forristall said. “We still block, we still catch passes. You can’t really change the position, in my opinion.”

Forristall hopes to improve his game by better combining his decision making with his athleticism. Daboll may be able to help him with this by calling on his coaching techniques that he used with Rob Gronkowski. Alabama defensive back Ronnie Harrison has noticed a huge improvement in Forristall’s overall game in the time he has been with the Crimson Tide.

“He’s progressed a lot,” Harrison said. “When he first came in, he came in with aggressiveness already, so he’s always had that aggressiveness. But now he’s working on his technique and his craft and his route-running, and he’s definitely getting it.”

Although he may be doing well on the practice field, the tell tale sign will be his performance on A-Day. Alabama fans are waiting patiently to see whether or not Forristall has truly improved and whether or not he can live up to former tight-end, O.J. Howard. Saban recently compared the two players to each other.

“A little more O.J.-like, in terms of a very good receiver,” Saban said. “O.J. became a very good blocker, but at the early stages of his career, that’s one of the things he needed to improve on. I think Miller is making progress in that area.”

Howard’s shoes are big ones to fill and having played under him for a year, Forristall is bound to have picked up some tricks of the trade, however he doesn’t see it as living up to anyone at all. Instead of being an improved version of O.J. or even a Gronk-in-the-making, Forristal would like to remain an original.

“I’m not quite O.J., and I know that. I don’t want to be,” Forristall said. “I just want to do my job, be Miller Forristall.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports