Imagining Alabama football's Will Anderson Jr. on offense? How about at wide receiver?
“I think me and OB are going to have a good conversation at the end of practice and see what kind of package he can have for me,” Anderson said, tongue firmly-pressed-against-cheek.
If there’s ever a time for Anderson to try to convince the coaching staff to use him on offense, it's now. He’s fresh off an interception return for a touchdown in the 63-7 win over Louisiana Monroe. Anderson’s run even included a stiff-arm.
“When I was on the field, I was kind of shocked I had it,” Anderson said. “When I started running, I was even more shocked. And when I stiff-armed him, it’s like the shocks just kept coming. When I got to the end zone, it was fun. Just to see how excited my teammates were for me, it was most definitely one of the top five moments since I’ve been here.”
Let’s keep the excitement rolling and officially start the campaign for Anderson to be used as an offensive weapon.
Just kidding. It probably wouldn’t be smart to do anything that might affect his ability to play defense, at which he’s one of the best in the country if not the best.
Still, it’s fun to think about as No. 2 Alabama (3-0) prepares to face Vanderbilt (3-1) on Saturday (6:30 p.m., SEC Network) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It wouldn’t be the first time Alabama has used a defensive player on offense. Daron Payne as a goal-line fullback is one example.
Anderson joining the offense anytime soon isn’t likely, but let’s take a step outside logical and practical. Instead, let’s choose entertaining, asking the question: What would Anderson the offensive weapon be like?
Frightening is the first word that comes to mind.
Matt Rhea, Alabama’s former director of sports science, clocked Anderson at reaching 10.7 mph within 0-5 yards.
That’s not far behind former Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle, clocked at 11.2 mph.
Also, Anderson enjoyed racing receivers and defensive backs in high school. In sprints and gassers, he called out different skill guys to run against. Then Anderson often finished first.
This man is listed at 6-foot-4, 243 pounds, mind you.
Where to line him up is the question.
“Probably a little fullback, tight end coming out of the backfield,” Anderson said.
Sure, goal line fullback could work, but that’s boring. It’s been done before. How about Anderson lining up as a tight end and going out for passes? Think JJ Watt and how the Texans used to have him run some routes in goal-line situations. He actually caught touchdowns.
Not sure how good Anderson's hands are, but he managed to pluck the football out of the air on the interception then tuck and run. That’s not a bad start.
Speaking of running, imagine a handoff to Anderson. Trying to tackle him seems scary. Need a couple yards? He’s got that short-yard explosiveness. Add in his size and strength, good luck to you, defenders.
Plus, say he breaks into the open field, he showed he’s got some moves. Anderson stiff-armed a guy after all.
Lining Anderson up at receiver might be a bit of a stretch, but hey, that sure would be an interesting matchup for a cornerback to look up and see the Terminator lined up across from him. The corner might be so shocked that Anderson runs right by him.
Giving Anderson offensive snaps probably isn’t sensible, but where’s the fun in sensible?