HOOVER — Minkah Fitzpatrick feels the Alabama Crimson Tide has a chip on its shoulder, despite winning 17 consecutive SEC games and making the national championship game the past two seasons.
Fitzpatrick is treating the loss to Clemson in last year’s title contest as a major motivational and learning lesson moving forward.
“It’s definitely a different type of motivation,” Fitzpatrick said last week at SEC Media Days. “You can learn a whole lot more from a loss than you can from a win. So I definitely think we did learn a lot. (The team) realized some things we need to do after that game that we should have been doing throughout the season.”
While Fitzpatrick held a leadership role last year, he has taken a bigger role this year with the departure of Eddie Jackson and Marlon Humphrey to the National Football League. Both junior wide receiver Calvin Ridley and senior center Bradley Bozeman have seen Fitzpatrick grow into a leader of the defensive back group.
Ridley said that other defensive backs follow Fitzpatrick’s lead on the field.
In 2016, Fitzpatrick earned first-team All-America honors. He recorded 66 tackles with six interceptions, one sack and five tackles for loss.
Fitzpatrick holds the Alabama all-time record for interceptions returned for touchdowns. It is something in which he and the defense take pride.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Fitzpatrick said. “It gets tiring at times because you score and you have to get back right out there. But I’m not complaining at all. It’s still a lot of fun, it makes you think you are playing offense and defense at the same time.
“After the first three games we realized we could score every game and we tried to start a streak to see how many games we could go scoring with our defense.”
Fitzpatrick was one of the underclassman who worked out for NFL teams this offseason. He said he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash.
Although he took advantage of his chance to get feedback from NFL scouts, Fitzpatrick is not concerned with the draft at the moment.
“I’m only concerned about a national championship,” Fitzpatrick said. “That’s all.”