After two years of lazer like focus the Alabama football team finally lost it’s focus this winter. The headlines were about the four players who were arrested and subsequently kicked off the team but they are just the outward symptom of a bigger problem. That problem is the end result of success. Humans are simply terrible at handling it. It had to happen eventually and it’s happening to Alabama. The fun isn’t ending. It’s just a new beginning.
The team certainly has talent but they like previous teams will have to learn the hard way that talent alone won’t win every game. So the best policy going forward is to simply forget what happened the last two years and let this team find it’s way. They will fail. It’s a virtual certainty. It’s really more important how they react to that failure than what the failure is.
The beginning of spring answered a few questions about how they were going to handle the lack of corners. Alabama moved a few offensive players over to sort of cross train a bit. Of those moves only one, sophomore Cyrus Jones might be permanent. Jones was a 4 star recruit at both DB and WR a year ago. He probably needed to go directly to DB but so many of these young players want to be a wideout. Though he looked good at wideout the emergence of other players relegated his chance of serious playing time to virtually nothing. So seeing the water boy running corner drills he finally got it through his head that not only is their playing time available, but that Alabama will have had a corner drafted in the first round of the NFL draft the last three years. Besides, a lock down corner makes more than a receiver in the NFL.
I think the plan for this fall is to continue to work with the two starters Geno Smith and Deion Belue, to try and develop either Cyrus Jones, Jabril Washington or Bradley Selve who have a years head start on Smith but probably not as much talent.
Then hope to hit pay dirt on one of the four true freshman corners who will arrive this July.
Then cap it off by hoping that senior John Fulton recovers from his toe injury and continues to develop the way he appeared to be before the injury stopped him last season.
Alabama will need 6 game ready corners with three of them being extremely good. I’ll write up a followup report when I get a look at how well Cyrus is adjusting at the spring game. I believe he and Geno Smith have big time ability and could potentially develop into a pair of shut down corners in time, but this year is going to be a time of testing.