Learning plays takes time


By Grant Nicholls

Cody Estremera , Sports Editor

SAN JOSE, Calif.— Learning a college playbook isn’t easy. Players must learn the ins and outs of the entire playbook, no matter what position they play.

That job can get more difficult on the defensive side of the ball. Players who play Mike linebacker, Star corner or safety have to be able to relay a call to the other eight players on the field, while being able to switch up the call pre-snap.

“At first it was kind of hard because, like I said, it was new to me,” inside linebacker Dylan Moses said. “It was stressful trying to learn it. Like I said, once I got it, it stick to me. Now I know it like the back of my hand.”

The process of learning the playbook for Alabama takes around a year for the players to feel comfortable, sometimes a little longer.

It took Moses about 11 months to memorize all of the plays. It took Xavier McKinney an entire year. It was about a year and a half for Mack Wilson.

“It’s not really hard, but you just got to do it,” cornerback Trevon Diggs said in August. “You just got to keep practicing, keep learning the plays and stuff like that. High school I played both sides, so it wasn’t really a technique thing, it was just more so knowing the plays. So, it wasn’t as hard.”

Even though the learning process relies on the player’s commitment to sitting down and learning the plays, the upperclassmen help the freshmen keep that commitment to learning. For example, Carter learned the defensive back plays from current NFL players Eddie Jackson, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison.

Now a junior, Carter has made an effort to take the younger players under his wing, just like other players did to him. The key member in the Alabama secondary that Carter is mentoring is freshman corner Patrick Surtain II.

“I try to help them learn the ropes, get them to learn the playbook,” Carter said. “When I was a freshman, the older guys did that for me, so I want to pay homage back.”

Communication is key, and the process starts by learning the playbook.