Alabama football: How Bolden’s 2021 A-Day game will be much different than his first

This year’s A-Day game will be much different for Slade Bolden than his first.

With John Metchie III out with an injury, the redshirt junior is Alabama’s leading returning wide receiver participating in spring practice.

His first A-Day in 2018? He was at safety.

“We lost a lot of safeties that year and I came in as an athlete technically,” the 5-foot-11, 191-pound receiver said. “So coach was like, ‘We need a safety.’ Me, as a freshman, I was willing to do whatever coach asked.”

Bolden later moved to offense before the start of fall camp. Three years later, he heads into A-Day as the most experienced receiver outside of Metchie.

“The biggest thing I’ve tried to help with (the younger players) is relating to them” he said. “I’ve been in their shoes and I know how it is. I try to tell them to not get frustrated and that they are going to make mistakes and mess up. The biggest thing is to continue to work.”

Though his first A-Day game was on the other side of the ball, Bolden feels he can still help the younger receivers going through their first experience playing in front of fans in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is at noon.

“At the end of the day, it’s the same thing,” Bolden said. “It’s a little easier because we practice so hard and like it’s a game-like scenario so it makes the games a little easier. So I can tell them to just go out there, play confident, play fast and at the end of the day you’ll get the results you want.”

Earlier in the spring, coach Nick Saban said the receiver group is in need of more speed. Bolden’s response?

“We need to get faster and I think every player needs to improve on not just speed, but strength,” Bolden said. “At the end of the day it’s also mental. Learning the plays and concepts of the offense and defense. Every year you want to improve.”