Ryan Anderson spent four years flying under the radar among his Alabama football teammates. He wasn’t yelling in their
faces. He wasn’t telling them what to do.
The outside linebacker led by example.
“I’ve been a guy that just didn’t have to speak out as
much,” Anderson said. “I could just stay laid back and do my own thing. I had
other guys that were always vocal leaders.”
And that was OK. It worked back then, but now, entering his
fifth year as a redshirt senior, things have changed.
Anderson still has to lead by example, but he also has to
lead vocally. It’s no longer one or the other. It’s 100 percent effort all
the time. The younger players are watching, learning and mimicking.
“For one, I have to do it,” Anderson said. “All the older
guys have to do it first. If we don’t, they’re not going to do it. They’re
going to think that’s the way it’s done. If they see us doing it [and think],
‘That’s how they’ve been winning around here, and if they’re not doing it,
we’re not doing it.’ That’s not the case. It starts up top.”
This mentality rubbed off onto Anderson from Jarran Reed,
who Anderson looked up to most before the Seattle Seahawks drafted him back in
April. Now in a leadership role himself, Anderson tries to handle the team similar to
how Reed did.
It’s working, too.
Anderson said the younger players, such as Raekwon Davis, Quinnen Williams and Jamar King, are getting better every
day. In fact, the defensive veteran sees them doing everything asked of them.
Players who are new to the team, but not new to collegiate football, are doing the same. Wide receiver Gehrig
Dieter has the experience as Anderson — thanks to a different
team. Dieter transferred to Alabama this season from Bowling Green State
University for his senior year.
“It definitely was a risk coming here,” he said. “The
safe route was staying at BG and probably being one of the leading receivers in
the country. But coming here, I wanted to be on a winning program and compete
for a national championship.”
Dieter’s experience thus far has been two things: fun and
challenging. He has built a relationship with the rest of the wide receivers,
who have been deemed the “assassins.” He goes up against Alabama’s defensive
backs, who he considers the best in the country.
When it comes down to it, though, the only thing that has changed is the artillery. The battle itself is the same.
“You’re going to be competing against 11 other guys on the opposite
side of the ball as you,” Dieter said. “Just coming here’s a challenge for
myself, but something I want to do to prove to myself and prove to a lot of
people is that football is football anywhere you go.”
Within the sport’s specific Xs and Os, Dieter has been
presented with something new. While Anderson’s leadership role morphed into
something larger, Dieter’s placement on the field as a wide receiver has slid
from the outside to the slot, something he didn’t experience at Bowling Green.
Regardless, he emphasized his point still stands: Football is
football. He made the adjustment, and he’s getting used to it. The same goes for Anderson. It’s all about adjusting to what’s best for the team.
Anderson and Dieter both saw overall improvement during Alabama’s second scrimmage Saturday. Anderson,
however, believes the Crimson Tide isn’t where it needs to be just yet, and he won’t
give the team a ceiling, especially his defense.
“I don’t get into potential,” Anderson said. “I played with
a lot of guys in high school that had potential. So I don’t get into all that.
It’s about showing up to work every day and getting better.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports