How Slade Bolden Responded to Dropped Touchdown against Florida

The Alabama receiver had a chance for an easy score against the Gators that instead turned into a learning experience.

With less than five minutes in the third quarter of Saturday's game against Florida, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young found a wide open Slade Bolden in the middle of the end zone and put the ball right on his hands for seemingly an easy touchdown. 

The only problem was that Bolden dropped the ball. According to Bolden, this was very out of character for himself, but he also owned up to the mistake.

"Working on receiving and catching is one of the biggest things I take pride in," Bolden said. "I'm always trying to catch everything that's around me, and it's not like me to drop a ball, but it happens. I’m not perfect in football and just in life, it happens."

Alabama would go on to score two plays later on a fourth down run from Brian Robinson Jr., so the Crimson Tide still got seven points out of the drive. For Bolden though, he knew he couldn't dwell on the miscue.

"I was able to just once that happened just to go on to the next play," Bolden said. "What is the next thing that I can do to help the team, and also what's the next opportunity that may present itself and take advantage of it? And I was able to have coaches and teammates be able to keep me from getting too down on myself, which I knew from jump as soon as it happened to forget about it, next play mentality."

Bolden continued to play in the receiver rotation on offense for the rest of the game and appreciated the confidence his coaches had in him because it can give other players confidence moving forward when they mess up.

"I believe that they know exactly what kind of skill sets I bring and attributes that I bring," Bolden said. "And dropping one pass or a pass at all, it’s not like me."

He finished the game with three catches for 19 yards. While the Florida defensive backs were often playing in tight coverage, Bolden was not the only Alabama receiver to drop the ball on Saturday. Both Jameson Williams and John Metchie III also had dropped passes.

On Monday, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said he wants to develop more consistency at the wide receiver position on his team. 

"I think we’ve got to continue to work on separating for man to man coverage, which is always what you need to do as a receiver," Saban said. "When people play zone and give you free access and you’re running into areas and getting in holes, that’s not nearly as challenging as when you have to beat a guy in man to man. 

"I think that’s something that we need to continue to work on. I think we have good players to do it and I think we’re capable of doing it. We’ve just got to be a little more consistent."

Alabama is currently fifth in the SEC in receiving yards and second in receiving touchdowns with 10. 

Crimson Tide defensive back DeMarcco Hellams had high praise for the Alabama receiving group that he goes up against every day at practice.

"In my opinion, we go against some of the best receivers in the country every day," Hellams said. "Just being able to line up across from our receivers, just our whole offense, it gives us tremendous confidence going into the game and that we’ll be able to defend anyone well."

Through three games, Alabama has only had three different receivers catch touchdowns (Williams, Metchie and Bolden) while the other scoring catches have come from running backs or tight ends.