Pete Golding weighs in on what makes Will Anderson Jr. so special
Pete Golding has coached plenty of elite players at Alabama, but Will Anderson Jr. might be the best of the bunch.
And, the good news for him is that Anderson isn’t eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft, so he’ll almost certainly be back at Alabama next fall.
Asked what makes Anderson special on Wednesday, Golding gave a long, thoughtful answer (via 247Sports):
Q. Where would you put Will Anderson among players you’ve coached and what makes him so difficult to block?
COACH GOLDING: I think we kind of talked about this last week. I mean, he just loves football. All the intangibles, you talk about being tough and competitive and all those things. And then you throw on top of it, the way he prepares, the way he’s in here all the time with Coach Sal and watching tape and his love of the game. And you throw on top of that his size and his athletic ability.
He’s one of the heavier-handed guys at his size for an outside linebacker that I’ve been able to be around as far as striking blocks and recreating the line of scrimmage. So that gives us the flexibility to leave him in the game in a lot of situations and move him around, whether he’s a 3, a 4, a 5, a 9.
We’ll drop him some, as well to keep people honest, based on sliding to him. He’s athletic enough to obviously drop into coverage, more zone standpoint. Obviously he’s an elite pass rusher. But I think one of his best traits is how physical he is at the point of attack and knocking guys back and being able to play the run.
I think everybody from a draft standpoint are looking for guys that specializing in certain things. And I think he’s got all the tools that you’re looking for from an every-down standpoint. So you throw that on top of who he is as a person, his character, his want-to, his leadership ability, he’s as special as I’ve been around.
We’ll see if Anderson can add a second-straight national title to his already impressive resume on Monday night in Indianapolis.