Freshmen Play Well On Special Teams
Alabama Coach Nick Saban has pointed out the opportunity for true freshmen to play on Crimson Tide special teams, kicking and kick coverage units that are made up primarily of back-up players. (There certainly are exceptions with some top first team players participating in the kicking game.)
Two freshmen who have really made an impression in the first two games of the season are linebacker Trey DePriest and safety Vinnie Sunseri. In Bama's first two games, both have been part of the Alabama coaching staff's selections of the players of the week.
Nine Alabama players were recognized for their outstanding play by the coaching staff following the Crimson Tide's 27-11 win at No. 20 Penn State.
Center William Vlachos and tight end Michael Williams were named players of the week on offense while safety Mark Barron, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker C.J. Mosley represented the defense.
On special teams, it was Trey DePriest and Vinnie Sunseri for the second straight week along with Dee Milliner and Alex Watkins.
Vlachos received the top grade on the offensive line and helped clear the way for tailbacks Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy to rush for 196 yards and two scores. Vlachos did not get called for any penalties or allow any pressures as the Tide finished with no sacks on the day.
Williams scored the game's first touchdown from five yards out and finished with three catches for 34 yards. He was also credited for his work in blocking for the run game as well as in pass protection.
Barron, who also earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors, paced the defense with seven total tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. The pick ended a Penn State drive at the UA 9-yard line and the fumble stopped the Nittany Lions on the Alabama 35.
Kirkpatrick was responsible for forcing that fumble as well as another in the game as the Crimson Tide finished plus three in turnover margin. He also had two tackles and a pass break-up.
Mosley tied Barron for the team lead with seven stops with a TFL and a pass break-up. The Alabama defense now leads the SEC in pass efficiency defense and total defense, ranking third and fifth in those categories nationally.
After the coaches graded the film, DePriest played a role in four special teams tackles. Milliner had two special teams stops while Watkins and Sunseri had one apiece. All four of those recognized are on the kickoff coverage team and Watkins' special teams tackle came inside the 20 on kickoff.
Sunseri had a big block on Marquis Maze's 44-yard punt return.
DePriest, Milliner and Watkins are members of the kickoff return team while Sunseri, DePriest and Milliner are also on punt return.
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