He described Preston Dial, who was the starter when Vogler arrived, as an “in your face 24/7 guy” who’s going to be there “rocking your world each play.” Vogler noted that Brad Smelley was more of a “finesse kind of guy” who likes to “get out in space and do his own thing.” Vogler mentioned that Michael Williams was primarily known for his blocking, but when in the red zone could “slip by you and get a touchdown.”
Vogler, who is Alabama's likely starter at tight end in 2013, is still developing his game.
“Each year, you have a different mold of a guy,” Vogler said. “When you watch film on each guy, you try to take something they do and bring it into your game. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to pull everything I see out of their talents and try to mix it in my game.”
The aforementioned players have one thing in common -- they all started at tight end for one of the Crimson Tide’s three national championship teams in the last four seasons -- Dial in 2009, Smelley in 2011 and Williams in 2012. That's a goal Vogler, a junior, wants to accomplish. And it starts with work ethic.
“I’ve always prided myself on having a really hard work ethic,” he said. “Just being the guy that’s usually the first person to cross the finish line. I may not be the fastest and I may not be the most athletic, but I do pride myself on hard work and just matching other people’s intensity.”
That drive has caught the attention of Tide coach Nick Saban. Saban said that Vogler has had a good spring and summer. Saban even called Vogler one of the “top conditioned guys” coming back from summer workouts.
“Brian has got a really good attitude about things,” Saban said. “He is one of the guys that can sustain. You create your own standard of superiority whatever you’re trying to do. But the challenge is, can you sustain that? Can you continue to do it with consistency and consistency in performance?
“That’s one thing that he has the mental toughness and maturity to do so it allows you to continue to improve. He’s done a really good job so far.”
At 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds, Vogler will be a big target for McCarron and will be relied on in the red zone. Vogler started in two games last season, but saw much of his time when scores were out of reach. This season, he’ll be leaned upon for leadership from players such as freshman O.J. Howard and LaMichael Fanning, who’s making the transition from defensive end to tight end.
He’ll also need to shore up his hands as he could see a lot of balls thrown his way when defenses shade coverage to Alabama’s improved stable of wide receivers and pack the line to stop the run.
But does he prefer blocking or catching passes?
“Whatever the coaches ask me to,” Vogler said. “Obviously, everybody wants to catch the ball.”