Like everyone else in the University of Alabama football program, tight end Miller Forristall is prepping for a season full of unknowns, but the redshirt senior is certainly taking advantage of his final year at the Capstone, and enjoying every moment along the way.
"No one’s senior year has ever been like this," Forristall said during his media availability via Zoom on Tuesday afternoon. "Not Coach [Nick Saban], definitely not us, I’ve been alive for 22 years. There’s people who have been alive a lot longer than I have and haven’t seen anything like this. This has been nothing like [I envisioned]. I mean no spring ball. No class. We’re at home all this time. We’re in Zoom meetings.
"I think you can kind of applaud our coaches and the university for how they’ve handled this, with so much uncertainly. Whether it be: are we going to play, what we’re going to play, what’s going on outside in the world, this entire social justice movement as well, and in an election year. I think our coaches and staff have handled it really, really well as far as preparing us for the best opportunity to be able to play here in the next couple of weeks."
Forristall, who is coming off of a throat injury suffered in last year's Arkansas game that forced him to sit out until the Citrus Bowl against Michigan, says that no spring practice could prove to be beneficial for older guys on the roster like himself and linebacker Joshua McMillon.
"There’s pros and cons to every situation," Forristall said. "For guys like me and Josh, who’s older than I am, and more decrepit, missing spring may have hurt us in other ways, but helped us in the way: My knee gets a break, my foot gets a break, my throat gets a break, and try and focus on other parts of my body that I wouldn’t have otherwise, when I’m in training and football-specific stuff. So it definitely hurt us, but can help us in other ways."
Earlier in the year, UNC graduate transfer tight end Carl Tucker Jr. was added to the roster and Forristall gave his early impressions of what the former Tar Heel will bring to the Crimson Tide.
"He’s been a great guy to add to the room." Forristall said. "He’s played a lot of football. He’s confident in his abilities and what he can do, knows how to be professional as far as college football goes. And just a great guy to add to the room. Good friend and personality. Another good player to add to the room. There’s nothing to complain about there. We’re more than happy to get him."
Along with Forristall, Tucker, and Major Tennison, redshirt sophomore Cameron Latu and sophomore Jahleel Billingsley make up some of the younger tight ends who could see more playing time than usual in 2020.
"Cameron is a guy who last year was really his first year playing tight end," Forristall said. "In high school he was one of the most coveted athletes coming out of high school. So you give him another year in the system to get bigger, faster, stronger, and in a new weight room system that I think has really helped him and everybody from a physical standpoint. He’s really developed. I’m glad to see what he’ll do this year, and push for playing time, and the same with Jahleel. Two guys who are both great athletes and have been putting the work in. Hopefully that’ll come to fruition this fall and everyone will be able to contribute."
With another year under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, there is a chance that the tight ends will become more of a threat in the Crimson Tide offense this season.
"That for sure can be the case," Forristall said. "Any time you get more and more depth to your room, and the more you can do the more valuable you are. And so I guess for each of us we want to flash or attack whatever weakness may have been, so this year we can all play different roles and every role. So we’ve been trying to cross train a lot of guys right now. We’ve you played H-man you’re going to play more Y today. You play Y, you’re going to play more H today. Because we’ve got a global pandemic going on and you never know who’s going to be missing one day, who’s going to be out the next.
"So we’ve really had to focus this year more than others on being able to play multiple positions. And I think that’s really helped us, and it is going to help us here in the fall."
Forristall also expressed how pleased he was with everyone in the program, following the march against racial injustices on Monday.
"One thing that I’m proud of us the action our players have taken," Forristall said. "Not only the players, but the coaches. To believe in something, and to believe in something so wholeheartedly, to go out of their way, to make a message, to make a statement, to use their platform.
"And I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. To believe is something so strong, to go out of their way to produce not only a message in a video but now to march for it. And the support from the coaches had been more than anyone could ask. I’m really proud of our guys.