Saban: Linebacker DePriest need to get back into game shape
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. _ The University of Alabama defense benefitted from Trey DePriest rejoining the first unit for last weekend’s scrimmage, but it doesn’t mean that he’s ready for the regular season.
The final step for the senior linebacker is getting back on par with teammates in terms of conditioning.
“He’s going to have to play himself in shape,” Coach Nick Saban said Tuesday evening. “I told him today, I said, ‘You’re going to have to push yourself in practice like you never have before, because that’s the only way you’re going to get in shape, because you’re not going to have camp to go back to.’
“I think he’ll do that.”
DePriest sustained a knee injury during the first weekend of training camp and has since been wearing a brace. He only missed a handful of practices, but only recently has participated in all drills and contact situations.
DePriest had a team-high seven tackles, including one for a loss during last Saturday’s scrimmage.
Among those who benefitted from the extra reps include sophomore Reuben Foster and true freshman Shaun Dion Hamilton, who could make up the second unit when Alabama opens the season Aug. 30 against West Virginia in Atlanta.
The subsequent four opponents are Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, Florida, which has switched to an up-tempo offense, and Ole Miss.
“When we play these speedball teams, we might have to play more guys until we get him to that point,” Saban added.
DePriest has played in 40 games for the Crimson tide, with 26 starts. This past season he had 65 tackles, 7½ for a loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception.
“When he’s out there, he’s a guy who can fill the holes and you’ll know he’s out there, because he’s out there making calls left and right, motions and all that,” senior safety Jarrick Williams said about the defense’s primary play-caller. “So he’s really a loud guy.”