Coach Spotlight: Darius Philon
"A lot more maturity," said Kerry Stevenson when asked about Darius Philon's progress as a player from the 2010 season. "He still has a big motor. He is still explosive. He pays a lot closer attention to detail.
"Coach Saban and coach Pruitt thought he was a little slow off the snap, not off the ball. He is explosive, but has worked really hard on going on the snap. A light has come on. He is in better shape. Overall I'd say his maturity as a player."
"He is 6-foot-2, 270-pounds. The sky is the limit for him. I think without losing a step he can play at 290-pounds. He is an explosive, quick and great athlete. If you saw him on the basketball court you would ask yourself how can he move like that.
"I think Marcell Dareus was 6-foot-4. To me Darius is a 6-foot-2 version of Marcell Dareus. Last week he put that big Florida State commitment [Alphonse Taylor], who is a 360-pound man, down in the ground. When we run wind sprints he runs with the receivers and defensive backs. He is always at the front of the pack."
Philon has been labeled as a pass rusher and had 89 tackles during his junior season.
"I was telling someone the other day that he is just as good against the run," said Stevenson. "He does like to rush the passer, but he is going to get to the football no matter where it is. It doesn't matter if he gets to the quarterback or whoever has the ball. He had almost 90 tackles last year. I don't think anyone passed on us 90 times."
Stevenson also discussed areas where Philon can improve.
"At the high school level we have to play him both ways," he said. "You want to have players play to help your team win. He may have taken off a few plays, but it's because he is tired. We may not need to play him as much on both sides.
"He is still learning to play with leverage. He is explosive. He has the size to get to the football. He still has a lot to learn though. He has the tools to learn though. He is a very smart kid."
Philon gave an early commitment to Auburn, but de-committed after receiving an offer from Alabama.
"He camped at Alabama the past two years," Stevenson said. "He had interest in them. Coach Saban wanted to see him at the OL/DL camp before making a decision.
"The Auburn offer came in. He wanted to go ahead and commit before he lost a spot. You know growing up in this state you want to play for Alabama or Auburn.
"Barrett Trotter was an Alabama fan, but they didn't offer. Auburn offered, and he went there. Sen'Derrick Marks was the same way. He always wanted to go to Alabama, but they didn't offer. Alabama was the offer Darius was waiting on."
Vigor has sent a couple of recent players to Tuscaloosa including Jalston Fowler and Marvin Shinn. B.J. Scott recently transferred from Alabama to South Alabama.
"B.J. is doing really good," Stevenson said. "He is starting at safety for South Alabama. Mark my words he will get a shot to play in the NFL. He just got married. He is as happy as he can be.
"B.J. was just ready to get on the field. He knew Alabama had a lot of talent. He just wanted an opportunity to play. He still loves the team and loves coach Saban. Coach Saban begged him to stay. I called him the other day to see what he was doing, and he said he was getting ready to watch Alabama play. He still has a lot of love for Alabama."
Vigor is a member of Class 5A in the state of Alabama. They notched an early season loss, 14-13, to a top five school in Class 6A (Davidson).
"We are young on offense, but senior-heavy on defense," Stevenson said. "We are having to simplify everything on offense. We are two tight power I straight downhill. Defensively we are very fast.
"We have a 6-foot-4, 260-pound nose tackle who has never played. He is having a good year. We have four seniors at DB. Of course we have Philon and Jamichael Winston on the ends.
"This is the best defense I have been around in 20 years of coaching. Davidson only had 147 yards of total offense, and the majority of those yards came on two plays. They had an 80-yard touchdown and a 40-yard run. If we can stay healthy we are going to be fine."
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