AP photo by Butch Dill|
A catch to remember:Matt Caddell enshrined himself into Alabama history with his 4-yard catch in front of Arkansas' Jamar Love for a game-winning touchdown with eight seconds left.
Big catch brings attention to Caddell
By Josh Cooper
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TUSCALOOSA — Matt Caddell's cell phone buzzed all Saturday evening.
Following Alabama's 41-38 victory over Arkansas, he counted about 80 text messages and 20 missed calls. That's what happens when you catch the game-winning touchdown with eight seconds remaining.
For the soft-spoken Caddell, the reception wasn't a testament to his will or skill. On Monday, he gave credit to everyone but himself.
"Our offensive line did a great job, and John Parker (Wilson) did a great job of throwing it," said Caddell, a senior wide receiver.
That statement sums up Caddell in plenty of ways.
His teammates say he has a great sense of humor, but with his humble nature, it's rarely apparent in interviews.
"He will surprise you with it," Matt's father, Doug Caddell, said.
Before the season, when asked whether he always wants the ball, Caddell was guarded in his response, saying "kind of, in a way." His peers among Alabama's receivers gave a resounding yes to the same question.
"That's just who he is," said David Powell, Caddell's coach at McAdory High. "He trusts the coaches, whatever role they plug him in, whatever it is. If they assign him to mix the Gatorade, he'll be the best whatever it is his coaches want him to do."
Ever since his freshman year, Caddell has accepted his role as a do-everything kind of receiver. If the coaches told him to block downfield, the 6-foot-0, 187-pound Caddell would try to create more running room for the ball carrier.
If his number was called to make a catch, he would try to get open. If they wanted him to be a decoy, he would gladly do so.
Along the way, his numbers suffered.
Through the 2006 season, Caddell had 46 receptions for a total of 660 yards and three touchdowns. His best game of his collegiate career came in the Independence Bowl last season when he had three catches for 33 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown grab in the first quarter.
"As long as we win, it doesn't bother me," Caddell said. "As long as I do my job, just playing without the ball, blocking, running routes.
"You just need to know your role on a team is more than as an individual."
Through the first two games of the season Caddell had zero receptions. But he waited for his moment.
That started with 2:13 remaining in last weekend's game against Arkansas during Alabama's final drive.
Before the series started, Caddell and Wilson were standing next to one another on the sideline. Wilson turned to Caddell and half-jokingly said, "Hey, let's score a touchdown right here."
Added Wilson: "I didn't know it was going to be him to catch the touchdown."
With top receiver DJ Hall limited with a sore quadriceps muscle, Wilson locked in on Caddell, hitting him four times for 41 yards on the drive, including the game-winning score.
After Caddell out-leaped Jamar Love for the 4-yard grab in the end zone, players ran over to him, piling on top of him. Caddell finished the day with nine catches for 91 yards.
"He's a dependable guy and if you're dependable, you step up in big-time situations like that," Wilson said. "The whole drive, he caught some good balls."
Georgia at Alabama
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