Motivation drives improvement

Spencer White

The Alabama Crimson Tide continued spring drills Monday with a workout under sunny skies in crisp, warm weather.

The warmth seems to have brought the fires of competition out in the defensive units, with members of the defensive lines, linebacking corps and secondary fighting for a bevy of spots on a depleted roster.

Constantly hearing about the accolades of a historically brilliant defense, especially when replacing the most popular player on that unit, is no small task. Luckily, junior Josh Chapman is quite a large man, and said he feels confident in his ability to replace fan favorite Terrence Cody at the nose tackle position.

“We feel that we can come in and contribute the same way they did,” Chapman said. “We all subbed in and played the same amount of snaps.”

There is no lack of motivation for the Hoover native, however, and it’s the drive that has pushed Chapman and his fellow defensive players looking to make their own mark in the wake of the departure of nine starters from a top-5 defensive group.

“We’re always motivated,” Chapman said.

For junior linebacker Chris Jordan, the time is now to make a move into the starting rotation. With three starting linebackers moving on, Jordan has been shuffled around throughout the four linebacking positions in an effort to find the right fit.

“Coach Saban is doing a lot of moving around,” Jordan said. “Right now, I don’t really know where I’ll end up at, but I’m pretty sure Coach Saban will make the right decision.”

In case there were inquiries, Jordan stated that he spent Monday at the Sam, or strongside, position.

But perhaps there is no player on the Tide roster more inclined to earn playing time than transfer cornerback Phelon Jones. The former LSU Tiger spent a year on the sidelines due to NCAA rules, and for the junior, improvement has been the name of the game during spring work.

“It’s going pretty good,” Jones said. “Still working to improve, working to get better.”

Jones spoke about falling as far down in the LSU depth chart as third-string before making the decision to transfer. With Alabama losing three senior defensive backs, he saw an opportunity with the Tide, a team he almost joined out of high school.

“I seriously considered coming here,” Jones said.

With a new chance to make an impact, Jones is looking to take full advantage of the opportunity.

“I’m trying to work to get better for myself, and at the same time just trying to help my team get better,” Jones said.

Other notes

-Center William Vlachos continued to wear a black jersey while riding a bike as he recovers from an offseason foot surgery. Sophomore running back Trent Richardson was back in action after recovering from a leg injury.

-There was little doubt that Chapman was among the strongest players on the Tide, but his bench numbers remain mind-boggling. The junior nose tackle estimated his bench range in the modest high 500s.

-Jones has the unique distinction of holding two BCS national championship rings from separate schools, one from 2007 at LSU and one from this season at Alabama.

“I guess I’ll have to get two separate cases,” Jones said.

The Tide continues practice Wednesday as it works toward April 17’s A-Day scrimmage.