Slade Bolden Is In Good Hands With O’Brien
Wide receiver Slade Bolden spoke with the media Thursday about the early going of the spring football season. The offense is under the new leadership of experienced offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.
O'Brien is a great offensive mind, and he knows how to get production out of his receivers. He worked in New England as a wide receivers coach from 2007-2010 and eventually offensive coordinator for the 2011 season. Julian Edelman has been with the Patriots since 2009, and he progressed immensely during his time under O'Brien. Edelman is 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, and Bolden is 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds.
O'Brien also coached Will Fuller V in Houston, another smaller more speed-focused receiver. Fuller had success under O'Brien out of the slot receiver position for four seasons even in the shadow of DeAndre Hopkins. O'Brien has turned players with a similar build to Bolden into consistent yard and touchdown producers at the next level.
Bolden is a savvy route runner who specializes in getting open on short routes. He is not necessarily going to blow people away with speed or win a bunch of jump ball situations, but he can find ways to get open over the middle alongside John Metchie III and the other young receivers. He played quarterback in high school, so he has a good understanding of how the offense should work and where he should be as a receiver.
He's not going to be Julio Jones or DeVonta Smith, but Alabama does not need him to be. If O'Brien sees the same potential in Bolden that he saw in Edelman, that is a great sign. Bolden can trust everything his coach is telling him because it has worked for other guys who have a similar play style at the next level. One thing is for sure, Bolden will be a leader in the wide receiver group for Alabama.