Stephen's Report

Four Tide players to benefit from this week’s matchup versus Colorado State

Najee Harris running between two Fresno State defenders in 2017 game
Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

Colorado State is the second of a back-to-back home stretch for the University of Alabama football program at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Head coach Nick Saban saw some improvement on offense against Fresno State, but wants to see consistency on both sides versus the Rams. 

Fans of college football expect to see production from Jalen Hurts, Calvin Ridley, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Ronnie Harrison, Da’Ron Payne and Minkah Fitzpatrick among others; however, this week’s matchup will feature a few players that should benefit from one final tune up before the Southeastern Conference schedule comes in for the Crimson Tide.  

Yours truly unveils a few guys that intend to have an impact on Saturday. 

Najee Harris, RB 

Najee Harris brought in some Eddie Lacy moves against the Bulldogs as he spun away from tacklers multiple times, to the tune of 70 rushing yards on 13 carries. With the jury still out on Josh Jacobs’ hamstring, the young Harris gets another chance to captivate the Alabama faithful. 

Despite the good, there some plays were Harris missed opened holes.  

He did not reach the end zone when the Tide was inside scoring distance, and due to running the wrong route, Harris missed an opportunity to possibly catch a touchdown pass. 

More reps should help him get better. 

Chris Allen, LB 

He recorded one quarterback hurry versus Fresno State, but Chris Allen constantly found himself in the backfield. His speed is a major asset, and with Rashaan Evans (groin) and Anfernee Jennings (ankle) doing little in practice, this provides more reps for Allen to get stronger. 

During Monday’s presser, Saban said he was not disappointed with Allen’s performance and regardless of him being recruited at inside linebacker, the 6’4″ freshman has the presence of mind to affect quarterbacks. He faced more a screen-based team a week ago, but the Rams will provide more of that downfield, pro-style passing game – which will allow Allen to be more aggressive. 

Jedrick Wills, OL 

He did some good things in Alabama’s home opener, and as the co-starter at right tackle, the Crimson Tide wants to see more from Jedrick Wills. He took reps with the first team during practices on Monday and Tuesday, before returning to the second team on Wednesday. 

His size (6-5/314) and potential have been firmly documented; nevertheless, Saban and offensive line coach Brent Key are more concerned with getting him to play winning football.  

The message up front has been to play with more power. 

After seeing redshirt sophomore Matt Womack pull in both an Alabama and SEC Player of the Week honor, Wills knows what he has to do in order to be a vital part of the rotation. 

Trevon Diggs, CB 

He ended fall practice on a high note, but it appears that Levi Wallace has snatched the flame from him. Trevon Diggs was the talk of camp throughout the summer, especially after he played well in the spring and both fall scrimmages.

He saw action in the first half against Florida State, yet he spent much of the second half on the sidelines. Wallace, on the other hand, would record two tackles, a pass breakup and an interception off Seminoles’ quarterback Deondre Francois. 

The former walk-on lined up as the starter at left corner during practices for Fresno State, and was announced a starter for the game. He’s done the same thing this week, while Diggs has been forced to shadow him.

He possesses a higher ceiling, but Diggs needs a quality showing. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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