With Alabama’s offense unable to move the chains early on against Southern Cal, the Crimson Tide defense found itself being asked to keep the game close until the offense could settle down.
The players on Alabama’s defense concentrated on their assignments, and USC’s success moving the ball stopped completely after its second drive. Suddenly, Alabama took a 17-3 lead in what eventually became a 52-6 rout of the Trojans, but Alabama’s defense wasn’t celebrating on the sideline.
It was too busy fighting amongst itself.
“You know, Ronnie [Harrison] let it emotionally get to him that these other guys [USC] were [trash] talking,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “So he said something, and Eddie said, ‘Hey man, this is not what we do, we don’t talk to the other team.’ And Ronnie got all upset, not necessarily at Eddie, he was just emotionally upset about the trash talking.”
Jackson’s advice was the last straw for the young defensive back and video cameras captured Harrison getting into it with linebacker Reuben Foster and other defensive players on the sideline.
Others stepped in to prevent the confrontation from escalating until Saban addressed the situation with his players. That seemed to work as both players walked together to the Crimson Tide’s locker room at halftime.
“I think the lesson to be learned is that when you have a teammate who is caring about you and trying to help you, the response should be ‘Thank you,’ not ‘Screw you,’” Saban said. “…Ronnie Harrison is a fine young man, it’s totally out of character for him, he’s apologized for it and is very sorry for it and I don’t think that’ll ever be an issue again.”
Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said avoiding trash talk is important because it could lead to unnecessary penalties. He also said he’s proud of the way Foster has stepped up as a leader for the Crimson Tide.
“Ever since the championship game last year, Reuben knows this is his senior year so he’s definitely been the guy standing up and leading the team,” Hamilton said. “I’m really impressed with the way he’s taken ownership as the leader of the defense. So I mean he’s done a really good job.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports