Childhood nickname, Bubba, sticks
Numbers don’t lie and this is definitely the case when you look at running back Alex Coker’s stat line. He has 854 yards on 98 carries for an 8.7-yard average and 14 touchdowns.“I know about it because it is in the paper and what not,” Coker said. “Other than that, we play to win, and numbers happen when you win. It is really to the team and the program that we got going.”
In his breakout touchdown runs, he has showcase his speed and play making ability. He had a rushing score of 75 yards, a punt return for 71 yards and kick return for 90.
“Usually punt returns is my favorite because there is a lot of open field,” Coker said. “You make a couple moves and you are good to go.”
The nickname Bubba, which he got a young age still suits Coker today.
“That was a childhood nickname,” Coker said. “I was a big baby when I was born, so that one of my neighbor friend’s, Spencer Walker, his dad, came up to me and said, ‘That’s a big baby; he looks like a Bubba.’ The neighborhood kids loved it.”
He still has the size, but now has the speed to match it. This prompted Fort Madison head coach Todd McGhghy to say that Coker is larger than two of his offensive lineman.
“That’s probably typical for Bubba nowadays,” said running back Carl Sivels. “He is a big boy. He eats in the weight room. He’s probably 200 pounds and 6-foot-2. He has great size but also has great speed for how big he is. He has great vision. When he hits the hole he is going. He is tough to bring down in the open field.”
The nickname Bubba has stuck so much that some teachers don’t know Coker’s first name, he said.
“It’s been since I can ever remember,” Sivels said. “We all thought his name was Bubba.”
Head coach Randy Schrader will call him Bubba on occasion.
“That’s probably true,” Schrader said. “To me it is Coke, Coker or Alex. If I’m pissed at him, I will call him Bubba. His mother probably calls him Alex when she is mad at him.”
In addition to being a vocal leader, according to Schrader, Coker puts in the time lifting weights every day.
“He has a great work ethic,” Schrader said. “He is always early in the weight room putting in the extra times. He has worked hard to put himself in a position to do some things.”
Coker has aspirations of playing at the next level but is solely focused on the rest of this senior season. He has seen some scouts at games but wouldn’t comment on which schools.
“That is irrelevant right now,” Coker said.
He did note that his projected positions are linebacker or nickel back safety.
In the fifth game of the season last year, a 51-21 win over Keokuk, Coker got his first shot as a starter and hasn’t looked back.
He rushed for more than 200 yards in his third and fourth game as the featured back against Mt. Pleasant and Fort Madison.
This season is the first year during Schrader’s four-year tenure that the feature running back hasn’t changed.
As Coker’s friend since grade school, Sivels knows his quirks.
“He is really into zombies,” Sivels said. “If there was a Zombie Apocalypse he would be ready for it. He loves talking about zombies and getting ready for all that type of stuff. World War Z and Walking Dead is his stuff.”
Coker can be found pulling pranks and joking around with friends on his down time.
“He likes to have a lot of fun,” Sivels said. “He is a little crazy; he likes to have a good time.”
He is also a mentor at Lincoln Elementary for third–through fifth–grade students. He mentored last year at Stewart Elementary.
Bubba’s life is more than the numbers you see in his stat line.