Alabama football's Will Anderson makes message clear to team: 'We're in our own way'

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football linebacker Will Anderson is only in his second season, but he already speaks like a veteran. 

He put that on display Monday when he stood behind the lectern and answered questions from reporters. He didn't speak long, only about 3.5 minutes, but what it lacked in length he made up for in impact as he made the message clear that Alabama's focus of late won't do.

Especially after a loss to Texas A&M. 

"We all have got to come together and sit down and we all have to get on the same page and realize this is the most important thing right now," Anderson said. 

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He doubled down on that phrase of "football being the most important thing" later Monday. That's also what he has stressed to the team. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. said that Anderson was among those to speak up after the game along with defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis, a redshirt senior. 

Anderson isn't pointing fingers, though. He includes himself right along with everyone else in needing to improve. "We" was a frequent word Anderson used Monday. 

His position, and the defense overall, is especially under scrutiny as the pass rush often failed to get consistent pressure Saturday or sack Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada in College Station. The Crimson Tide finished with zero sacks. 

"As a D-line and as linebackers, I think we need to watch film together more," Anderson said. "We need to realize our pass-rush lanes and how we can get to the quarterback more and be more effective so he doesn’t have all day in the pocket." 

Anderson also spoke the week after the Florida game, a near-loss that showed the Crimson Tide had some vulnerabilities on defense.

Anderson mentioned "the Alabama standard" several times that afternoon in late September and how Crimson Tide players needed to return to that standard. 

"I don’t think it was taken seriously," Anderson said Monday. "As you can see, after the Florida game, which was a close game, we ended up losing this game. I think together as a team, we really just have to focus. I think that’s the biggest thing. I just feel like it’s really nothing other teams are doing. It’s just us. We’re in our own way right now."