The old cliché practice makes perfect, can be tossed around
very loosely every so often, but for Alabama’s wide receivers and corners it is
something they take to heart. Going up against each other almost every day in
practice, both position groups compete to be top
At each practice, the wide receivers have to match up
against their secondary counterparts, using the tight competition to improve
their own craft. That kind of competition is what drives both groups to step up
their play each week.
“You never know,” said wide receiver ArDarius Stewart. “One day it
can be the defense, the next day it can be us. It’s a constant battle, a
constant struggle, because the defense we have is amazing. It’s tough going
against those guys, but it kind of makes it easy going into the season.”
The wide receivers, nicknamed “The Assassins” by Stewart,
return a lot of talent from last season. The team’s two leading receivers (Stewart and Calvin Ridley) are back for the Crimson Tide, and Robert Foster (the guy who led the group before his injury) returns. This group can
make quite the impact come fall.
“We’re already great,” he said. “We’re just trying to
compete to get better, build on what we have.”
Stewart said the group earned that nickname with its ability to go out and take what it wants. He said the group of players is
willing to do anything in order to make a play, whether it is sacrificing their bodies, or fighting off of a defender.
With so many players competing for starting roles, Stewart
says the lineup shifts often.
“It’s a constant competition, no one’s spot is safe,” he
said. “You have to go out there and continue to fight, and all the guys have
been doing a good job going out there and doing that.”
On the flip side, the cornerbacks lose one of their veteran
leaders in Cyrus Jones, but also return consistent contributors in Marlon Humphrey, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Maurice Smith.
The secondary has multiple players that have five star
talent. Smith serves as a jack of all trades, shifting all over the field,
playing anything from safety to star.
“Wherever coach needs me at,” Smith said. “It might be at
safety one down and corner the next, we’ve just got a lot of versatility in the
secondary as a hole. It helps out a lot.”
With all of the
talent in the secondary, Smith said the way to improve is to line up against a
strong group of receivers like Alabama’s.
Obviously they’ve got a lot of talented guys back there in
the receiving corps,” he said. “Just going against them every day helps us get
ready for competition like USC and all the spread teams that we play.”
The constant battle in practice between the receivers and
secondary in practice is beneficial for both sides. Both get to challenge each
other to try and prepare for teams with talent on offense and defense. When
asked who wins the battles practice, Smith confidently said the defensive backs.
Stewart and the rest of his fellow “Assassins” would
Source:: The Crimson White Sports