Mandell Impresses During Spring
It’s not often that punters receive rounds of applause during a game. It is even less common for punters to receiver numerous rounds of applause. So when Cody Mandell received multiple ovations from the crowd inside Bryant-Denny Stadium during the Tide’s annual A-Day game, it was evident that he had done something to impress the masses.
In fact, he did something he did not do during the 2011 season. He averaged over 44 yards per punt – 44.1 to be exact.
Mandell had the punting duties for both the Crimson and White teams, and he got a chance to display just how much improvement he has made in the few short months since January 9th. The junior punted eight times for the White team for 364 yards and an average of 45.5 yards per punt. His longest punt for the White team was 60 yards.
On the Crimson team, Mandell punted eight times for 342 yards and an average of 42.8 yards per punt. His longest punt for the Crimson squad, and for the entire day combined, was 66 yards.
All-in-all, Mandell managed to down four of his punts inside the 20-yard line. These improvements drew rave reviews from the massive crowd of 78,526 inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. But the fans were not the only ones to notice Mandell’s stellar production. In fact, he’s been punting like this all spring.
“He’s really punted better all spring. We always felt like Cody really had the ability to do it,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “It was just consistency in whether it was drop or long steps. He has a little more maturity about duplicating what he does over and over again.”
Mandell struggled for much of the 2011 season as he only managed to average 38.76 yards per punt.
The Crimson Tide ranked 10th in the Southeastern Conference in punting, and it was the Tide’s inability
to switch the field that many people felt could have been their weakest point. But it seems as if the
message Coach Saban has driven home all spring – a message of improvement and making the right
choices to succeed – was well received by Mandell.
Now, the Crimson Tide is hoping Mandell’s progress will carry over to the 2012 season. Consistency is
key, and Saban knows that just as well as anyone.
“I play five holes (of golf) and hit it straight. Then I start hooking it or slicing it because I can’t stay in
that. I always want to do it a little better, hit a little further, hit a little harder,” Saban said.
“Well, that’s what those guys have got to overcome, too, because they get out of rhythm, they get out of
sync, they start shanking them, dropping them inside. And that’s always been his problem. I think now
he’s been in a place all spring where his consistency has been much, much better. Seemed to be a lot
more confident in what he’s doing and has done a really good job.”
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