Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Receivers and defensive backs discuss what its like to face each other in spring practice


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 dog.

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 probably disagree.

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