Sophomore linebacker Mack Wilson forever endeared himself to Crimson Tide fans when he decked Texas A&M returner Speedy Noil. The video of the big hit has been a popular viewing experience for fans.
UA head coach Nick Saban said Wednesday at SEC Media Days that the inside linebacker might have a future on the outside as well.
“I think inside linebacker is the one position that we probably have the most depth at, with Shaun Dion coming back, with Rashaan Evans finishing the season last year for Shaun Dion and playing very well,” Saban said.
“Mack has had a really good summer. We have a lot of confidence in his ability. I think he’s starting to mature and develop the confidence and understanding in the system to have a role and be a good player for us. So we’re excited about him making a contribution, you know, at that position. And he’s so athletic, that maybe we could even develop him as a rusher because he is a very explosive guy.”
Offensive line talk
Multiple times this offseason, Saban has remarked that he felt good about four spots on the offensive line. He’s never named names, but an educated guess would lead one to believe those four linemen are Jonah Williams, Ross Pierscbacher, Bradley Bozeman and Lester Cotton.
Where Cotton might fit best remains to be seen, but he has played snaps at left and right guard, and he could play tackle if needed, too.
“I feel like coming out of the spring that we had four players who really demonstrated that they could play winning football in the offensive line,” Saban said. “And I felt like we had four or five other players who certainly showed signs that they could be that player that made the fifth starter, whether at right guard or right tackle.
“I think all those players have competed very well this summer. And it will be interesting to see how they mature in fall camp. And I don’t think that decision (isn’t) going to get made until sometime in fall camp. We have a couple new freshman that have shown some potential over the summer. And it’s all going to be about who can develop and who can play with the most consistency and who is the best fit with the other four players that have all started games for us in the past.”
Alabama will open its season against an Atlantic Coast Confernce opponent – Florida State – after closing the 2016 season against another ACC team, Clemson.
Those two programs are the elite of that particular conference at the moment, and both share cultural and geographical similarities with programs in the SEC.
Saban and his staff go up against ACC programs in recruiting nearly every day. Saban looks at Florida State and sees a mirror image of his Alabama program.
“Florida State, especially, is built like an SEC team, you know, like our teams,” Saban said. “You think of Florida State, you think of fast, explosive players which they have a lot of, but they are also a big, physical, play great defense, tough, you know, team. And I think it’s probably Jimbo’s (Fisher) experience in this league that sort of why he built his team that way. And that’s certainly the kind of team that they have this year.”