Alabama Crimson Tide: Carson Tinker

Forecasting the Tide: Special teams 

January, 29, 2013
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the specialists.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The official visitor who made the longest trip this weekend was Alabama long snapper commitment Cole Mazza. He flew to UA from Bakersfield, Ca., but it was well worth the trip.


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Introducing the class: Cole Mazza 

December, 31, 2012
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Editor's note: This is a series introducing Alabama's 2013 recruiting class that will run through signing day.

Cole Mazza
Courtesy of Cole MazzaCole Mazza said his first meeting with Nick Saban was businesslike.
Alabama hasn’t had to worry about the long snapper position in quite some time. Carson Tinker has started every game at the position since 2010, but with Tinker graduating after this season, the Crimson Tide needed a replacement. Enter Cole Mazza. The high school senior earned a scholarship from Alabama and plans to start as a freshman. This week, Mazza is taking part in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.

Q: What made you commit to Alabama?

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Alabama: Midseason awards 

October, 17, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama coach Nick Saban won't do it, so we will. Midseason grades simply aren't his thing.

"I don't really grade them," he said. "I just focus on things we need to do better."

So, while Saban focuses on the next opponent, we at TideNation will take a few moments to look back at the past six games and hand out some awards marking the halfway point in the season.

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Recruiting battles: Tennessee vs. Alabama 

October, 16, 2012
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When Nick Saban arrived at the University of Alabama in 2007, he made it a point of emphasis to recruit the state of Tennessee and take what recruits he could away from the rival Volunteers. It didn’t take long to make his presence felt.

[+] EnlargeBarrett Jones
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesAlabama center Barrett Jones is one of several high-profile players Nick Saban has recruited out of Tennessee.
In 2008, his first full recruiting class, Saban signed three Tennessee natives -- linebackers Don'ta Hightower and Chris Jordan and offensive lineman Barrett Jones.

Hightower now plays for the New England Patriots. Jones, who won the Outland Trophy a year ago, is expected to hear his name called in next year’s NFL draft, and Jordan battled several injuries but still made a contribution both on special teams and as a backup.

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Alabama's depth chart revealed

August, 28, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The picture of the Crimson Tide, circa 2012, is coming into full view. On Tuesday afternoon, Alabama released its depth chart.

There were a couple surprises on the list, including Jalston Fowler and T.J. Yeldon sharing duties as the No. 2 tailback and Ed Stinson winning the second defensive end spot. True freshmen Denzel Devall and Geno Smith also won coveted backup roles at Jack and cornerback, respectively.

Quarterback
AJ McCarron, Jr.
Phillip Ely, RS Fr.

Running back
Eddie Lacy, Jr.
Jalston Folwer, Jr. -- OR -- T.J. Yeldon Fr.
Dee Hart, RS Fr.

Tight end/H
Michael Williams, RS Sr.
Brian Vogler, Soph.

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Commit Cole Mazza happy for Tinker 

August, 22, 2012
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Cole Mazza may be the first long snapper to earn a scholarship from Nick Saban out of high school, but on Tuesday, Alabama senior long snapper Carson Tinker earned his own scholarship from the Crimson Tide head coach after walking on four years earlier.

Cole Mazza
Courtesy of Cole MazzaCole Mazza made the trip for a prospect camp in Tuscaloosa and impressed Nick Saban enough to get an offer.
Mazza, who committed to Alabama in June, wanted to be one of the first to congratulate Tinker for the accomplishment.

“I was honestly so proud of him,” Mazza said. “He’s worked so hard for that. With all he’s been through and how hard he’s worked to get back to the top from what happened in the tornado. He deserves it more than anybody in this world to finally earn his full scholarship at Alabama.”

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Countdown to kickoff: 51

July, 12, 2012
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From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down the days before Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 51 and what it means to UA football. See all the previous editions here.

You won't see him on the field very often, but Carson Tinker is as vital to the University of Alabama's success as a number of players who start at the so-called glamour positions. He doesn't throw touchdowns, catch them, or even prevent them. What he does is get the ball to the right place and let the kickers do the rest.

No. 51 on the Alabama roster has been a rock for the Crimson Tide at long snapper in his three seasons with the team. His job is a thankless one. No one notices a long snapper until he's messed up. Luckily for Tinker, that hasn't happened often.

Tinker handles both field goal and extra point snaps for UA, in addition to longer punt snaps. Last season, he went without a single botched snap, connecting on 83 short snaps and 36 long snaps. That kind of production doesn't have a price tag.

In fact, his reliability might have triggered coach Nick Saban offering a long snapper an athletic scholarship for the first time since coming to UA. Usually, long snappers are invited to walk on and do not receive scholarships. After honing in on the country's top prep long snapper, Cole Mazza (Liberty High/Bakersfield, Calif.), Saban thought him worthy of the offer. Mazza accepted and will enroll as part of the 2013 class.

Coaches in the SEC only get 25 scholarship offers to work with every year. To spend one on a long snapper says as much about the player who agreed to the offer as much as the guy he has a shot at replacing.
ATLANTA -- Don't be fooled by Alabama coach Nick Saban's love for pounding opposing defenses with a powerful running game. The man would like to air it out a little more.

But when you have bruising running backs like Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, it's tough not to just hand them the rock and watch them hurt people.

[+] EnlargeAJ McCarron
Spruce Derden/US PresswireAlabama coach Nick Saban said he's still preaching patience to QB AJ McCarron.
However, those backs are gone, and while heir to the running back throne Eddie Lacy appears more than capable of running down defenders' throats, Saban now has more of the pieces in place to get a little more vertical in his attack on defenses.

"I feel like you gotta do on offense what you have the players to do," Saban said in Atlanta Thursday during his second stop on the Crimson Caravan. "Now … we have a quarterback that I think is very capable, as long as he makes good decisions and judgments in terms of how he distributes the ball and doesn't turn it over."

That quarterback is redshirt junior AJ McCarron, who was named offensive MVP of the Allstate BCS National Championship Game and finished the 2011 season ranking third in the SEC in passing.

McCarron has all the tools to be a real star in the SEC, but he rarely looked flashy in his first year as a starter. He managed the game like his coach asked him to. There were times where he let it rip (the national title game rings a bell and so does the second half of the Tennessee game), but for the most part his job was to limit mistakes and lead the offense.

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NEW ORLEANS -- Greetings from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome!

If you're looking for a confident bunch Monday night, look no further than Alabama's kickers. Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley took the field by storm. Along with punter Cody Mandell and snapper Caron Tinker, Alabama's specialists rushed out on the field, taunted some LSU player and were chest bumping all the way to their side of the field.

All the confidence this group lost in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Nov. 5, must have been found on the bus ride in tonight. These two are looking to make up for the awful showing they had the last time these two teams met. You know all those kicks have been running through their brains all week, so it's time to come out strong for these guys.

Both have been nailing kicks, so far, but there aren't any Tigers in their faces this time ...

There are also a few celebrities in the house. Cedric the Entertainer rode with me on the elevator up to his seat. No word from him on which team he's rooting for.

So far, it's hard to tell which side has more fans, but this place exploded when the Alabama kickers ran out onto the field. It got even louder when Alabama's skill players ran out onto the field. We'll see what it looks like come kickoff.

This place is going to be electric come kickoff. It helps that music from the movie Inception is blaring through the stadium loudspeakers.

Did you just get goosebumps? I know I did.

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