Saban and players discuss need to remain hungry and which freshmen are standing out prior to fall camp

Tyler Waldrep

The summers in Alabama aren’t for everyone. The weights are heavy, the workouts are intense, and defensive end Jonathan Allen doesn’t hide any of that from visiting recruits.

”Probably the biggest thing I tell them is you don’t come to Alabama for the parties. It’s hot, it’s humid, you don’t go there for parties, you go there for football,” Allen said.

What Alabama does offer recruits is the chance to compete for national titles. The Crimson Tide brought home one of those coveted championships last season, but some players still think the team could’ve done more.

“That [the success Clemson’s offense had] was very disappointing,” Allen said. “As a defense you want to win, but you want to win a 10-7 game. We’re happy we won, but that’s probably one of those games I won’t be visiting too often.”

That almost complete lack of satisfaction, no matter the program’s success, is a critical tenet to coach Nick Saban’s Process in Tuscaloosa, and Allen said the drive to remain hungry is something young guys need to buy into if they want playing time.

Allen doesn’t know which one of the four quarterbacks will ultimately win the job in the fall, but freshman contender Jalen Hurts seemed to make a good impression on the defensive lineman.

“[He’s] very athletic, picks up on the plays quickly, great hard worker, and that’s just a recipe for success,” Allen said. “If you come in and do what you gotta do the coaches are going to steer you in the right direction.”

Safety Eddie Jackson said he’s also been impressed with the work ethic some of the freshmen possess. He said wide receiver Trevon Diggs is one of the guys who stands out for his approach to the weight room, but he praised some of his fellow defensive backs as well.

“They [Shyheim Carter and Aaron Robinson] take coaching. They come in and they compete. They play fast,” Jackson said. “If they make a mistake you come tell ‘em, you coach ‘em up, they do it right the next time.”

With the loss of two starting defensive backs at the conclusion of last season, some of those guys might find themselves in the mix to earn playing time, but Saban said the real depth concerns on the defensive side of the ball involve the front seven.

“The diversity in players that we had on last year’s team was almost perfect for what you need in this day and age of football with the spread, with no huddle,” Saban said. “You need a lot of depth, you need a lot of athletic guys that can make plays in space, can rush the passer. And when you play some of the power teams in our conference, you need some bigger, more physical guys to stand in there. We kind of had all of those parts. I’m not sure we have all those parts this year, but certainly we’re working to try to develop them.”

Linebacker Tim Williams’ previous role with the team was that of a pass-rushing specialist that walked out on the field on third down. Williams still managed to record double-digit sack numbers despite his limited action.

“I’m definitely looking for him to have an increased role in our defense this year,” Allen said. “He doesn’t get enough credit for his ability to stop the run. He’s very strong so he’s done a good job of coming and just working hard and busting his but and he’s starting to see the success from some of his hard work.”