TUSCALOOSA — After nearly four years of not getting the results he wanted, Alabama tight end Brian Vogler knew it was time for a change.
So Vogler, a fifth-year senior, revamped his approach to offseason workouts, and it appears to have paid off as he enters his second season as a starter.
“I’ve been nonchalant throughout my career putting in the extra work — putting in the bare minimum to get by. This summer and this spring, I’ve come in with a whole new attitude of I want to be the first-in, last-out kind of guy and that’s the identity I’m trying to create as a player. I’ve put on some mass, put on a couple pounds, lost body-fat percentage and it’s something I’ve really taken to heart — something I’ve really wanted to do going into this last year.”
But why the change now?
“I was just seeing guys do so well, you know, and looking at last year how things ended,” Vogler said. “I suffered from a couple injuries throughout the year and I think it was because my body wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be. I think I can help my body out by being in better shape and being a little bit stronger to protect myself, I can go throughout the season being healthier.”
Vogler is one of 15 players on the Tide’s roster who have received an undergraduate degree. He took over as the Tide’s starting tight end in 2013. Vogler returns as the leader of the group heading into 2014.
Starting in 12 games, Vogler caught eight passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Against Mississippi State, he hauled in his first career touchdown on an 18-yard reception. That performance earned him Offensive Player of the Week honors from Alabama’s coaching staff.
“I think Brian Vogler really played well for us as an on-the-line tight end,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “It’s hard to run the ball if you don't have a good tight end if you want to stay in regular people. Brian has done a good job in that regard. We want him to continue to play with more power and be more physical.”
Along with developing on the field, Vogler has also embraced his role as a leader and teacher for the younger tight ends.
Sophomore tight end O.J. Howard, one of Vogler’s understudies, said Vogler “gives me little tips and hints” that Howard takes to the field.
“Vogs, off the field he’s a great person, also,” Howard said. “Anything you want to talk to him about he’s going to talk to you about — whether it’s football, school work, anything. I can say he’s taught me a lot since I’ve been here and it’s been a pleasure playing with him.”
Sports Writer Marq Burnett: On Twitter @Marq_Burnett.