Alabama Football News

Alabama DL Phidarian Mathis on Will Anderson: ‘A lot of guys want to be like him.’

Will Anderson (#31) with a tackle for loss against Southern Miss.
Photo by University of Alabama Athletics

Florida was big, but Ole Miss brings a different challenge for Alabama.

The Crimson Tide will face one of college football’s most explosive offenses. Lane Kiffin returns to Tuscaloosa for the first time since being an offensive coordinator from 2014 to 2016. After scoring 48 points on the Tide in 2020, Kiffin wants more and eyes an opportunity for an upset. He has a quarterback (Matt Corral) in the Heisman race and many talented offensive weapons.

RELATED: Jamil Burroughs’ quickness and power up front has Nick Saban’s attention

Will Anderson Jr., a sophomore, had an impressive freshman season. He amazed Alabama’s coaching staff with his pass rush abilities and strength against the run. Anderson has emerged as the defensive leader for the Tide. The 6-foot-4, 243-pounder has been a force in each of the first four games. He has 24 total tackles, including a team-high eight stops for loss and two sacks.

Anderson also has two quarterback hurries.

He stayed in the backfield versus Southern Mississippi, collecting three tackles for loss, one sack, and one quarterback hurry. The native Georgian arrived on campus as a five-star in 2020, and he wants to play to the “Alabama standard.” Anderson spoke about how the defense needs to things together after a close victory over the Gators.

Nick Saban praised Anderson for his mentality; however, he knows the challenge this week. Matt Corral will test Alabama’s discipline, Mississippi’s running backs will test its strength, and its wide receivers will test the Crimson Tide’s secondary.

RELATED: Alabama vs. Texas A&M kickoff time and television network announced

Despite the matchup, Alabama knows the leader it has in Anderson. On Monday, Phidarian Mathis told reporters that many players on the team want to be like him.

“He has been doing good,” Mathis said. “Will, he leads by example. He’s not a big talker, but his play shows it. He brings a lot of excitement to the game. I feed off him on the field.”

Mathis, a fifth-year senior on the defensive line, has 2.5 sacks (team-high) and three tackles for loss. People have shown concern for the matchup against Mississippi, but Anderson is ready to lead the defense to a strong performance.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber-only content!*

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 @CoachingMSmith. 

Facebook Comments

To Top