Football is a tough game, and while college football is meant to be fun, the juggling of academics along with the rigors of playing for Alabama means stress comes in abundance.
That’s why fun, light-hearted personalities are a must in a locker room of 85 testosterone-filled division I athletes. In fact, it’s a must.
That’s why the loss of Reuben Foster hit the team so hard this offseason. Not only was the All-American linebacker a hard-hitting, sideline-to-sideline tackling machine, he was one of the guys that provided lighthearted moments in the locker room when they were most needed.
“Having those kind of guys on the team loosens the tension. relieves the anxiety, picks up the spirit of the team because everyone knows it can be a grind physically and mentally,” former Alabama offensive guard Alphonse “Shank” Taylor said.
Two guys that fit that bill on the 2017 team check all the boxes: both have fun personalities, both like to laugh and both have the respect of the team.
Senior linebacker Rashaan Evans is a natural ham. He’s just as natural in front of the media joking it up as he is on the football field.
“…Rashaan’s a lot like Reuben,” junior running back Damien Harris said. “He’s an incredibly hard worker. He focuses on the small details. He’s just a really, really positive guy on our team and he’s a true leader. But he’s somebody that kind of mixes it up and have fun every now and then.”
That’s funny, because Evans said the same thing about Harris.
“…the honest truth is Damien is probably the funniest dude,” Evans said. “He tried to put it on me, but he’s really the funniest dude. But to be honest, we’re kind of like hand and hand. We kind of feed off each other. Whenever he’s in the room, I get funny, and whenever I’m around, he gets funny too.”
While that might not seem like much, it can be the thing that gets a player through the middle of fall camp when bodies are getting tired and minds are fatigued. A nice laugh or a bit of frivolity can be the thing that gets them through a practice.
“Yeah, you’ve got to have people who can motivate you whether ‘Let’s go,’ or some guys who can give you a couple of laughs because this game is pretty difficult,” Evans said. “Just to have people like that kind of makes the time go by.”
Is Nick Saban funny?
UA head coach Nick Saban isn’t known as a lighthearted guy. He’s not one who’s thought of as the funny guy in the room. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Saban’s viewed as the guy you might want to stop telling a joke in front of when he enters a room.
However, his players say he can let loose when the occasion calls for it. Saban, a sort of football psychologist, might know the exact time his players need a laugh and that’s when he surprises them.
“Coach Saban does a good job of being funny when it’s time to be funny,” Evans said. “A lot of people only see him when he’s serious because he’s doing the interview trying to show that he’s focused — which he is — but he does have a personality just like we all do. If you catch it, you catch it.”
Reach Aaron Suttles at email@example.com or at 205-722-0229.