The comments poured in fast and furious, and the sentiment was essentially the same: Alabama fans did not like the cut block on defensive end Da’Shawn Hand during the third quarter of the Crimson Tide’s blowout win over Ole Miss on Saturday.
For the remaining game, fans must’ve thought Hand was out for the season with a serious knee injury that resulted in him being carted off the sidelines and into the locker room.
However, Hand has an MCL injury that will not end his season.
“Da’Shawn Hand has just an MCL (sprain),” UA coach Nick Saban said. “He will be out probably and very doubtful for at least this game and maybe more.”
Fans continued the argument Monday of whether the hit by Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox was legal or dirty. Saban said he had no problem with the block.
“Yeah, it was legal,” he said. “He just cut him. If it’s illegal, we should eliminate cut blocking. I’ve been an advocate of that for a long time, but you’re allowed to cut. It was a legal block. Until someone changes the rule, there’s nothing illegal about it.”
It’s not uncommon to see Alabama defensive backs practice against the cut block. The entire defense is taught the proper technique to defend oneself and remain upright to attempt to make a tackle or pursue the ballcarrier.
How to defend against it
“They always tell us, you have to look at what’s going to happen,” linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said. “If you’re looking at the quarterback, you’re not looking at what’s coming to hit you, you can get cut easily. You have to look at what’s coming at you.
“What they tell us, you want to get your hands on top of the guy’s shoulder pads so you can stop the force or whatever. It’s really paying attention to detail. If you don’t, you’re going to get cut every time.
“I mean, nah. It’s football. Things like that are going to happen. As a defender, you just have to do your job and get your hands on top of the guy’s shoulder pads and stop him.”
That doesn’t mean that defenders are a big fan of the block.
“We hate it,” linebacker Anfernee Jennings said. “Every defender hates a cut block. But it’s part of the game.”