Terrell Lewis just couldn’t help himself.
Alabama held its first scrimmage Saturday, and Lewis, a junior linebacker, met offensive guard Tommy Brown at the line of scrimmage.
“It was my first pass rush in a minute and I wanted to be more physical than I have been,” Lewis said.
You can’t blame Lewis for being a tad aggressive during the full-contact scrimmage. He missed all of 2018 with a knee injury and Saturday was a chance for him to reacquaint himself to his new Crimson Tide teammates.
“Tommy’s good,” Lewis said of his collision with Brown, a freshman.
“It was fun being back out there and being in the mix and stuff and getting that confidence back. It was like, ‘OK you haven’t done this in a while,’ so I went into it with the mindset of don’t think about it just play. Just having that mentality and acting like nothing ever happened.”
Depth was a concern at linebacker for Alabama last season with the loss of Lewis and Christian Miller to injury. It might be an issue again after the departure of freshman Eyabi Anoma (transferred to Houston) and the loss of senior Josh McMillon (knee injury).
One thing is certain. It’s all hands on deck.
“That’s part of the game,” Lewis said of injuries. “I’m preaching to the other guys to stay ready because you never know what could happen. When I went down against Florida State (2017) and when Christian (Miller against Oklahoma) went down — we’ve seen it.
“Our biggest thing right now is to make sure we get everybody along the defensive line and outside linebackers having depth so that we can rotate guys like we’ve done in the past so we can keep guys in there that are rushing fresh and not have any dropoff.”
“Chris Allen (sophomore) is definitely getting comfortable learning why we do things on defense and getting confidence,” Lewis said. “Ben Davis (junior) is a guy we are depending on to step up. Some of the younger guys like Kevin Harris (freshman) and King (Mwikuta), he is a guy we have been trying to push along and gradually get him to understand the game.”
A familiar name is back at Alabama coaching the outside linebackers. Sal Sunseri was with the Crimson Tide from 2009-11 and has made a big impression on Lewis and his teammates.
A loud impression.
“Coach Sal is a tough coach,” Lewis said. “We all kind of have gotten a butt chewing from Coach Sal but it’s done out of love. He sees the potential in this group. When he does chew us out he talks to us immediately and says, ‘Guys, the only reason I’m doing this is because I see the potential.’ He always thinks big picture and the next level and he knows we all want to win national championships and we have dreams of playing in the NFL. He gives us his NFL perspective of why he does things and to understand there is no time for self pity and things like that. Everybody is going through the same thing.”