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Will Anderson lands on Mid-Season All-American team as he looks to build on his tremendous first half of the season

NCAA Football: Southern Mississippi at Alabama Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Battle: “Will is a great influence. When he speaks to the team, everybody’s locked in, everybody listens. And, as you can see last year, it turned out to be a good thing, a good outcome. We’re just going to continue to do that as a leadership group on this team, just get on the guys and make sure our focus is always on the right things.”

Christian Harris: “Will’s a great leader for our team. And he really came in, since his freshman year, and just went straight to work. And that’s really where he earned so much respect from everybody on our team. Whenever he speaks, it does have volume. Everybody will listen.”

Malachi Moore: “I’ve seen him take a big step, I would say, since the offseason. Will always comes to work every day, and he’s one of those players that when he says it, everybody listens just because of how hard he works. He goes hard every day in practice no matter what we’re doing, and he’s always just trying to keep everybody accountable and to keep the main the main thing and our goals the same.”

Bryce Young: “He’s definitely made that more of a point. He’s definitely grown a lot as far as really him stepping up and taking on that role as a leader. He’s been very vocal throughout the year, and especially recently, been very vocal. Everyone knows the work he puts in, everyone respects him, so when it’s someone like Will who talks and leads how he does, it’s easy for all of us to rally behind that and to get behind what he’s saying. He’s been very big for us, obviously on the field with how well he’s been playing but being a leader for us, as well.”

Will Anderson stepping up over the last few weeks and dragging the entire team with him has been amazing to watch, and has singularly given me the most confidence about the future of the Tide’s season. It’s been a few years since Alabama has really had a true rallying leader on defense like that, and Anderson’s intensity, work ethic, and dedication could very well be what brings the “Alabama standard” back to the defense for 2021 and 2022.

The Associated Press midseason All-America team was unveiled Tuesday, and No. 4-ranked Alabama was well-represented with three players making the cut on the 25-player team.

Sophomore quarterback Bryce Young, junior left tackle Evan Neal and sophomore linebacker Will Anderson were all recognized as midseason All-Americans by the AP. The three selections were the most from one school. Georgia, Iowa and Syracuse each had two players.

And, hey, it never hurts when your most vocal leader is named as a mid-season All-American. If Anderson can keep up the pace of production for the rest of this season and in 2022, he could very well become a #1 overall draft pick.

Saban had a more positive tone speaking Monday about the direction of the 2021 Crimson Tide after making a statement at Mississippi State.

“I think we took the first step of that in the last game,” Saban said, “and hopefully we’ll be able to build on that in the future.”

Who really is this Alabama team?

The next few weeks will hold the real answer as it plays for an SEC West title without a safety net but an upward trajectory after a true dud of a performance at Texas A&M.

This is a great article from Casagrande about trying to define the identity of the Alabama team and straddling the balance between unpredictable and inconsistent. Give it a read, it’s a really good piece.

The Crimson Tide recently defeated Georgia Tech, 77-63, in a closed scrimmage this past weekend in Birmingham, and while Nate Oats said his team “got a lot of good stuff out of that,” he has to rememeber that building an NCAA Tournament team doesn’t happen overnight.

“We’ve gotta remind ourselves where we were at this point last year,” Oats said Tuesday. “Sometimes you get a little frustrated with where you’re at, comparing where you’re at now with where you finished last year. Well, Herb, Reese, Petty, Bruner, Primo are not here. We’ve got new guys that need to figure out how we’re playing.

This was a great interview with Nate Oats about how practices have been going leading up to the season. I won’t get into it too much, but definitely give this article a click as he talks about most of the different players, the offense, and the defense. With the bye week coming up for the football team, we’ll be ramping up our preseason hoops coverage here on RBR soon, so keep an eye out.

Finally, to participate in Tennessse Hate Week:

It appears Jeremy Pruitt is bringing a lawsuit against the University of Tennessee.

In an interview Tuesday with the USA TODAY Network, Michael Lyons - Pruitt’s lawyer - said the former coach will not go quietly.

“On behalf of my client, I can tell you that he’s not happy that this is the only choice they’ve left him with,” Lyons said, “but he’s not going to walk away without getting his day in court.”

Lyons, per the report, told Tennessee officials they must reach a settlement with Pruitt by Oct. 29 or face a lawsuit the lawyer claims could “cripple UT’s athletic programs for years.”

The university, however, doesn’t intend to any such thing.

“He’s going to file a lawsuit,” Lyons added. “They’re not leaving him much choice.”

Hoooo, this saga isn’t over yet, and the juciest bits may still yet be ahead of us. Best of luck to Pruitt!