How ILB became a weak link at Alabama

CoolBreeze

All-American
Sep 18, 2002
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Hoover
Yea, never thought we would have a backer problem in the Saban era but man we have talent all over the field on D. I believe our D Line and secondary will shore up any shortcoming at the ILB position but we really need to find some alfa dogs to recruit going forward.
 

bamabill123

Scout Team
Dec 9, 2018
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I agree.
It's sad when a major strength becomes a questionable position.
Hopefully the next man up will step up their game...

All it takes is we miss on a key recruit, one you did get is not as good as thought and all of a sudden , you're short. Ben davis comes to mind, this year we missed on the mississippi kid and the cali kid. we might be short here for a little while
 

B1GTide

TideFans Legend
Apr 13, 2012
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It was a weakness for exactly one season. Two major changes that year - Mack became the main guy, and you changed coaches. Both contributed to the problem in a major way. This is not an injury problem or a recruiting problem.
 

CrimsonEyeshade

All-American
Nov 6, 2007
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Wouldn't you call Mac starting a recruiting problem since he was the best of the lot?

It was a weakness for exactly one season. Two major changes that year - Mack became the main guy, and you changed coaches. Both contributed to the problem in a major way. This is not an injury problem or a recruiting problem.
 

mikeua69

All-American
Apr 16, 2002
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Alabaster, AL
All it takes is we miss on a key recruit, one you did get is not as good as thought and all of a sudden , you're short. Ben davis comes to mind, this year we missed on the mississippi kid and the cali kid. we might be short here for a little while
This year’s LB class will be the best in years. They are making up for it.


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GrayTide

Hall of Fame
Nov 15, 2005
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Greenbow, Alabama
I do think the coaching turnover has hurt, but also seem to believe the fall off at ILB may have coincided with CNS's change in defensive philosophy in defending the spread/hurry up offenses.
 

gtowntide

All-American
Mar 1, 2011
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Memphis,TN.
Both JJ Peterson and Quay Walker were signing day flips if I remember correctly, so there was little to no reaction time for either. If it makes anyone feel better, JJ Peterson hasn't seen the field at UT and looks like a bust.
 

B1GTide

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Apr 13, 2012
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Wouldn't you call Mac starting a recruiting problem since he was the best of the lot?
Maybe. His problems were mental not physical. He was focused on his next job, not on his current one. In football, you have to limit your focus to the next play. At least part of that may have been tied to Saban's recruiting approach since he pushes NFL progression of his players in recruiting. So, maybe.
 

CrimsonEyeshade

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Nov 6, 2007
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Maybe. His problems were mental not physical. He was focused on his next job, not on his current one. In football, you have to limit your focus to the next play. At least part of that may have been tied to Saban's recruiting approach since he pushes NFL progression of his players in recruiting. So, maybe.
From a coaching perspective, the best way to get a meandering player's attention is to put him on the bench for a while. Except, there was nobody to go in for Mack. That's what I meant about a recruiting problem.
 

bamaslammer

All-American
Jan 8, 2003
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Really a combination of problems, coaching turnover, missed on a recruit here and there (which might be related to coaching turnover because some misses are players who just didn't develop). But probably the biggest issue is Smart and Pruitt selling the same system. They have been able to convince a few players that they would be buried on the depth chart when in fact they would have probably been playing at Bama. I'm not sure if that's an easy sell at this point. I see our depth at ILB and I'm thinking "opportunity", "door wide open", "nothing but grass", "RING". But that's just me, I can't predict what an 18 year old thinks. Unfortunately these sorts of recruiting holes take a while to dig out of. The only good news I can give is that Saban's gotten some all-American performances out of freshman ILB in the past and there's always a chance we could see that again.
 

Bama9001

Scout Team
Sep 26, 2017
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Could someone list the guys that are ILBs or even potential ILBs that we'll be looking at this year. Do we know where all the freshmen will be yet? Is Christian Harris an ILB? Thanks...
 

gtgilbert

All-SEC
Aug 12, 2011
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Both JJ Peterson and Quay Walker were signing day flips if I remember correctly, so there was little to no reaction time for either. If it makes anyone feel better, JJ Peterson hasn't seen the field at UT and looks like a bust.
I think it's too early to make that call with Peterson. He didn't get to join the team till they were already into game prep mode so he didn't get the benefit of the full summer conditioning, learning, etc and I think due to that the staff decided to only play him in four games so he could keep a year of eligibility. Through spring it sounded like he was in contention for the WLB spot. If he wins it, that probably about the timing we'd expect him to be contributing here, if not a year ahead of schedule. If not, and he's #2, he's still in a spot to likely win a starters role by year 3.

Davis is certainly a miss. He's the 2nd highest rated ILB prospect since 2009 and maybe since saban arrived, and he's not yet come close to contributing. That hurts for sure. We've missed a few guys we expected to have on board - i.e. Walker, Dean, Peterson (although in hindsight we might have pulled this one since he was not able to enroll at UT on time) and others.

We've definitely had a bit of a decrease in our overall ILB recruiting, with our two lowest rated LB classes being 2018 and 2015. If the ratings were retroactive and we reclassed Davis to what he's actually done, 2016 would also be pretty bad. For some reason Donta wasn't highly rated coming out of HS, but other than him, if McMillon wins the job he'll be the lowest rated starting ILB we've had in the Saban era.
 

gtgilbert

All-SEC
Aug 12, 2011
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Could someone list the guys that are ILBs or even potential ILBs that we'll be looking at this year. Do we know where all the freshmen will be yet? Is Christian Harris an ILB? Thanks...

Right now the guys in the mix are Moses, McMillon, Benton, Kaho and Moody with the true freshman looking like Lee and C Harris. Harris has tremendous upside, but when he lines up for us as an ILB, it will be the first ime he's ever taken a non-all-star game snap at the position since he was a DB and WR in HS. He's got a lot to learn to make the switch
 

CB4

All-American
Aug 8, 2011
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Birmingham, AL
Right now the guys in the mix are Moses, McMillon, Benton, Kaho and Moody with the true freshman looking like Lee and C Harris. Harris has tremendous upside, but when he lines up for us as an ILB, it will be the first ime he's ever taken a non-all-star game snap at the position since he was a DB and WR in HS. He's got a lot to learn to make the switch
I felt Shane Lee played well in the spring game. I have high hopes he can contribute early as a freshman.
 

gtgilbert

All-SEC
Aug 12, 2011
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I felt Shane Lee played well in the spring game. I have high hopes he can contribute early as a freshman.
Agree - he played with a lot more fluidity than I expected he would. It's certainly likely we see him playing a role on special teams.