Nick Saban has seen the evolution of the tight end, and he recalled on Wednesday how far it’s come since his days with the Houston Oilers.

Saban told reporters that a tight end in those days simply lined up next to the offensive tackle with his hand on the ground.

“If you talk to Ozzie Newsome, who’s a great friend and an Alabama guy and a really good player here and for a long time in the NFL, that’s what he did,” Saban said. “But now, a tight end is really 3 things: A tight end does that sometimes, a tight end flexes out and plays like a wide receiver sometimes, a tight end is in an off-the-ball position and does a lot of things an old-fashioned fullback used to do. So it’s kind of difficult to find someone who has the skillset to do all 3 of those things well.”

Saban added that Alabama has had some talented tight ends, and he’s encouraged by the young players on the roster.

“They have to focus on their development, and develop a little better understanding of the offense, but I think they have really good ability,” Saban said.

Cameron Latu, for example, was Alabama’s starting tight end last season and the team’s leading returning receiver. He had 26 catches for 410 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2021.