Every great Utopian society had a superhero. Not because of crime per se, but because of the ever present threat of the super villian. The super villian is the architect of chaos, the thing that keeps the citizens of the Utopian society of reaching their full potential. The superhero's job is to deal with the super villian so the citizens can go about their business and take care of the more mundane chores of life. Gotham City prospered because Batman kept the Joker in check. Just one less thing to worry about.
Last year Alabama had a super villain. It was called kick off coverage. In the first two match-ups of the season Alabama allowed a kick off to be returned in both games for a touch down. Virginia Tech's Dyrell Roberts ripped one for 98 yards in the season opener and then pealed off another 47 yards in a forth quarter return. Florida International managed a 97 yard kick off return the very next week. Bama was spared a third kick off return against Mississippi State when the return man stepped out of bounds. Alabama finished the season ranked 115th on kick offs, giving up 2005 yards for the season. Bama fans were worried.
Enter Alabama's superhero: kicker/linebacker Cade Foster. At 6' 1" and weighing in at 215 lbs (some accounts say 6' 2", 220 lbs), Foster is one of the biggest kick off specialist I've ever seen. A former team mate of Greg McElroy at Southlake Carroll High School, his list of honor awards are extensive. In 2007 he was named 1st Team All District kicker and Special Teams Player of the Year. In 2008 he was ranked the #2 kicker in the Nation, was named 1st Team All District kicker again and was also a 1st Team All District middle linebacker. In 2009 he was named 1st Team All-State kicker and was selected to play in the US Army All-American Game.
Foster has an uncanny knack of kicking the ball 80 yards on a very consistent basis. In 2008 70% of his kick offs were touch backs. He has kicked them through the uprights before. When the return man tries to run it out of the end zone Cade Foster isn't one of those kickers that wait until the runner reaches the 35 yard line before he thinks about tackling, no sir not this kid. He runs the 40 in 4.6 and he likes to tackle. This is where his linebacker skills come into play. Shedding blocks and cutting around obstacles often make him the first tackler to reach the ball. He has stopped numerous returns inside the 20 yard line.
Add to the fact that Cade Foster has only missed one extra point in 2009 going 50-51, and hit a 49 yard field goal, he gives Alabama just what it needs on kick offs: one less thing to worry about.