BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE
The Greenville Standard
Today I will discuss starters at split end and tight end during the Wishbone era at Alabama.
At split end, David Bailey (1971) caught a lot of passes before the Wishbone. His did not his senior year but was still effective.
He caught a touchdown pass against Ole Miss to break 6-6 tie before the half. Alabama won 40-6.
Wayne Wheeler (1972-73) was from Orlando, Fla. In 1972 vs LSU he caught two touchdown passes.
In 1973 vs Tennessee, he scored on an 80-yard pass on the opening play of the game. Vs LSU, he scored on 77-yard touchdown pass. Both teams were undefeated. Alabama won 21-7.
Ozzie Newsome started from 1974-77. Coach Bryant said he was the second best athlete, he coached behind Joe Namath.
Nobody could cover him one on one. He is the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Keith Pugh (1978-79) ran pass routes. He also had great hands. He was named offensive player in televised game against Miami which was the first TV game from Tuscaloosa.
Jesse Bendross and Joey Jones (1980-82) split time at that position. Both players could fly and were very effective. One advantage these players had was one on one pass coverage.
At tight end, Jim Simmons (1971) was a fifth year starter. He was a blocker on 11-1 SEC Championship team.
Warren Dyar (1972) was a junior college transfer. George Pugh (1973) was a sophomore starter.
He made a sensational one handed catch against Tennessee and turned a short pass into a 49-yard touchdown play against LSU. Alabama was named UPI National Champions.
Jerry Brown (1974-75) was a two year starter. He caught a TD pass against Auburn in 1975.
Rick Neal (1976-78) was three year starter. He scored a touchdown on a 35-yard pass vs Washington in 1978.
Tim Travis (1979) scored two touchdowns vs Tennessee (1978) by rushing. 1979 vs Tennessee, he scored on a 33-yard TD pass and started a comeback for a 27-17 win. He also had a 56-yard TD pass vs. Miami.
Bart Krout (1980-81) scored five career TD receptions. Jay Grogan (1982) was last starter at tight end in the Wishbone Era.