clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jumbo Package: An update on the linebackers and more awards for Minkah Fitzpatrick

New, 55 comments

A lot of lighthearted stories and news for your perusal today. The hot takes are at a minimum, and the feel goods are high.

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Kickoff-Alabama vs Florida State John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban: 2 Alabama freshmen were possible redshirts before LB injuries

Saban went a little further talking about those who'll need to step into those roles. Da'Shawn Hand might play a little more on the outside of the defensive line but will not be a stand-up outside linebacker.

True freshmen LaBryan Ray and Christopher Allen were potential redshirt candidates until these injuries, Saban said.

"These guys were guys we thought would be really good players," Saban said. "We just didn't think we would have to play them this quickly and they're going to learn a lot."

Ray is a defensive lineman who is getting a look at outside linebacker.

Aside from the passing game, the biggest storyline surrounding the Alabama squad right now is the loss of Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller for the season, with Anfernee Jennings and Rashaan Evans out for a few weeks. That’s a lot of linebackers.

Anyway, Saban gave us a few tidbits on what we might expect. Chris Allen and LaBryan Ray— an outside linebacker and a defensive end— are two players who he wanted to redshirt this year, but may end up getting in on the action with all the injuries.

If anything, it’s a good sign that these two freshmen have made enough of an impact to be in the consideration here going forward.

Rewinding what Nick Saban said on his radio show

-- Saban said speed factors into which personnel Alabama uses on field-goal-block and punt-block units, which is why starting running back Damien Harris and Minkah Fitzpatrick are used the way they are. Saban says he doesn't worry about players getting hurt on special teams even though his own assistants have expressed reservations about using starters in that capacity.

I’ve never had a problem with starters being on special teams, as long as the time spent practicing there does not cut into their time spent practicing at their real position. I feel like we see a lot more injuries near the line of scrimmage on any given run play than we ever do on special teams plays... especially those that aren’t kick-offs.

If putting Damien Harris on special teams instead of a backup gets us a blocked punt, then lets keep him there.

Alabama nominates Minkah Fitzpatrick for Wuerffel Trophy

Fitzpatrick, who is majoring in Human Environmental Studies, volunteers at the YMCA, TAP Inc. and FCA, according to a release, and spent his spring break in Costa Rica with other Alabama student-athletes doing relief work while teaching in football camps.

The defensive back from St. Peter’s Prep (Old Bridge, N.J.) is also a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide and was named a First Team All-American by the AP and AFCA in 2016.

Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, the Wuerffel Trophy, “often referred to as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” is annually presented in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to the college football player that best combines exemplary community service with academic and athletic achievement.

Alabama’s Barrett Jones was the 2010 recipient of the award.

It seems like the more we learn about Minkah Fitzpatrick, the harder it is not to really respect and admire him as not only a football player, but a person as well. If there has ever been an Alabama player that’s easy to cheer for, it’s Minkah.

Nick Saban shares hilarious story about how he changed his lines in The Blind Side

“I did no acting in The Blind Side. It was not considered acting,” Saban said. “They gave me a script, the director gave me a script. I didn’t want to be in the movie because I was the coach here (Alabama), and I was the coach at LSU in the movie so I thought the fans here would all get mad at me if I was the LSU coach in a movie.

“So I refused and Fred Smith, who was a pretty powerful guy with FedEx and all that, produced the movie and talked me into doing it. I told him I’d do it, but I’m not going to wear LSU clothes. He said ok. Then the director comes in and gives me a scripts and says ‘Ok, here’s your lines. Here’s what we want you to say.’ I said, ‘Hey buddy, I was there. I did this.'”

Saban continued as the crowd and hosts burst into laugher, “I said ‘Why can’t I just do what I did? I’ll just say what I said when I come to the front door, I’ll say what I said when I sat down and talked to the player, Michael, and the little that was there. I’ll just say it, and if you don’t like it, I’ll do your script.’ So, I did it that way and he liked it so I never did the script.”

Fans in the crowd loved every second of it as Saban stuck the ending.

“In my opinion, there was no acting at all,” Saban said, smiling. “To me if you act, they give you a script and you act like somebody else. All I did was just be myself and did exactly what I did. Coaching the team’s harder, I guess is what I’m trying to say.”

I’ve gotta admit, I probably would have went for a look-alike actor in place of Saban than going for the real person had I been doing the movie. Not sure there’s ever been a man less suited for being an actor than our beloved coach.

The story behind hilarious Twitter persona of former Alabama starter

Back in his playing days, the account was more restrained. He said he didn't want to give opponents any extra fuel before games. There was a keep-it-in-house mentality among players to keep any kind of internal issues from becoming public spectacles.

There was a way to correct such behavior if it became a problem. One of the preseason speakers who did a training session on social media had an especially effective method for rogue accounts.

"They would pull up your Twitter feed in front of the whole team and that stuff is embarrassing," Taylor said. "So, I never had that problem. I never had that situation."

If you haven’t already seen anything from him, Alphonse “Shank” Taylor has really been killing on social media ever since he graduated from Bama. He’s even earned that fancy blue check mark denoting a verified celebrity account next to his name. Ranging from funny to insightful, Shank has a lot to say about many things surrounding the Bama program, and is just generally a lot of fun to follow.

(this is in response to the question: “What is the funniest thing Nick Saban ever said to you?”)