Seven players, who all figure to be big contributors this weekend, took time to speak to the media Tuesday evening.
The overall buzz from all the guys who joined the zoom call this evening was very positive. There seemed to be a lot of confidence, energy, and excitement in the Tiger locker room with the season just 4 days away. Larry Rountree III was the first guy to speak and he established this excitement from the get go. Even with all the outside distractions that have followed this season, Larry made sure to affirm that the locker room still has the same game week energy as any other year. When asked about the challenge of facing Bama, Larry replied, “If you go into a fight thinking you’re going to lose, you’re going to lose. You have to go in there with tenacity believing you can win.” Whether that tenacity is real or lip service is something we will find out on Saturday.
Perhaps the person who will have the biggest change to their football life from years’ past is Keke Chism. Not only is he experiencing a season during a pandemic, but last year he was facing DII defenses. In his first game of this year, he will be matching up with the #2 team in America, talk about a 180. Keke discussed this change saying, “I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” but still acknowledged, “There absolutely will be nerves.” However, he said those nerves didn’t have to do with Bama, but rather had to do with playing with a new team for the first time.
Seeing what this revamped receiving corps is capable of should be one of the biggest things Tiger fans are looking forward to after a lackluster year in 2019 at the position.
If there’s one person Tigers fans know what they’re gonna get from it’s Nick Bolton. He is the leader of a talented defensive unit that will have to somehow manage to slow down the likes of Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. When asked about being the leader of the defensive unit, Bolton said, “It’s exciting… I’m proud to be a leader for this football team.” He also added high praise for potential starting QB Shawn Robinson about his ability to extend plays and throw the ball downfield.
Who’s going to be protecting Shawn Robinson (or Connor Bazelak) is one of the more worrisome spots for this team, but Case Cook and Larry Borom did offer some reassuring words this evening. Borom spoke about the faster tempo of Drink’s new offense being an asset to the O-Line this year because of the shorter time defenses will have to get set, and Case also had a positive outlook regarding all the shifts that happened on the line in Fall Camp, claiming it has made all of them better and added to the depth in the position group.
The position group that’s depth will be tested the most on Saturday is probably the cornerbacks. Having to track Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith is going to be taxing, as those two can get up and down the field better than anyone in the country. However, Jarvis Ware didn’t seem to think it was too much to ask of the DBs saying, “(We) just got to go and do our job.” It should be a great barometer for a secondary that has a lot of upside.
For now, we wait till Saturday. #MIZ