Alabama equipment manager helps players get their messages across with arm and wrist bands. (Photo by Ralph D. Russo).
O.J. Howard was the first Alabama player to wear arm bands with messages carefully and clearly stenciled on them by equipment manager Nic Woodley.
Woodley did such a nice job with his Sharpie that now he gets requests from numerous players before every game.
Before Alabama played Clemson in the College Football Playoff national championship game Monday night, Woodley was on the field at Raymond James Stadium, arranging 16 white bands of various sizes on the grass near the sideline. The black lettering looked as if it could have come from a printer.
“That’s four hours of work right there,” Woodley said.
Woodley doesn’t know what all the sayings, names, initials and numbers mean. Players often just text him requests the day of the game.
“I woke up to three texts from three different guys today telling me what they wanted,” Woodley said.
Freshman linebacker Mack Wilson requests a band to match the tattoo he has on his arm: 334, the area code for his home town of Montgomery, Alabama, with the city’s skyline in the background.
Several of the bands honored injured teammates, with the No. 4 for defensive back Eddie Jackson and the No. 20 for Shaun Dion Hamilton.
Woodley said he did arm bands for Howard when the tight end was a freshman, but the senior has stopped wearing them. Howard didn’t wear the bands during last season’s national championship against Clemson and ended up having a career game with 208 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
“I apologized to O.J. after the game. ‘Sorry, you haven’t scored since freshman year. I must have been the armbands,’” Woodley said.