Nick Perry ‘Dependable Guy’ In Tide Secondary

Nick Perry was into the second game of his senior season at Texas A&M last year when he was forced from the game with a shoulder injury, which he said was the result of “wear and tear, just physical play in the SEC.” So what did Perry do? He came back for more.

Nick Perry is a 6-1, 211-pound safety who has seen a lot of playing time in the Alabama secondary and on special teams since coming to the Crimson Tide out of Prattville prior to the 2010 season.

Perry said his shoulder injury is “a common injury among defensive guys. Since I’ve been here for four years, and hitting guys every day, it just happened. It wasn’t one specific play, just over time.”

The important thing, he said, is “Everything’s healed up. It’s been about a year now. I’m just taking it easy, still doing rehab on it, but so far I feel 100 per cent.”

Alabama Coach Nick Saban is glad to have Perry back for this season after the Crimson Tide lost two safeties, HaHa Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri, as early entries into the NFL draft.

“Nick’s a guy that certainly has a lot of experience,” Saban said. “He has always played in spots, but always been in the two-deep and had lots of reps and lots of turns. He has a really good understanding of our defense.

“He has no physical side effects at all from the injury. He’s recovered very well from that and is playing very well so far in fall camp.

“I think any time you have guys that have the kind of knowledge and experience that he has, it’s certainly something that can be beneficial to you because I think he can play a lot of positions, he can play a lot of spots, and you know he’s always going to show up in the right place.

“He’s a very, very dependable guy for us.”

Perry is also pleased to be back with a familiar face. Kirby Smart, Bama’s defensive coordinator, was a longtime coach of the safety position. Last year he worked with the linebackers. This year he’s back with the safeties as he and Saban (who coaches cornerbacks in practice) are together again in the secondary.

Perry said, “It’s a huge difference. Kirby Smart is a great defensive coach. Having him and Coach Saban in the same room is beneficial for our secondary.”

One of the big stories in college football is the adjustment defenses must make against hurry-up offenses. Perry said “There’s definitely been a change” in the approach the Bama defense is taking.

“More guys are coming at us with the uptempo offense,” he said. “Every day we’re making strides to improve against that type of offensive style. Even during the off season, we were kind of focusing on how to stop the uptempo.”

Regardless of what the opposing offense does, Perry wants to be a factor as a leader. He said he expects the leader to come from the secondary because there are experienced players there, including Jarrick Williams, Landon Collins, and Geno Smith.

Perry was asked about offensive players who have impressed him and he gave the usual suspects -- Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, Christion Jones, and O.J. Howard. And he also mentioned young wide receivers, Ardarius Stewart and Robert Foster.

He also responded to what seems to be the theme of fall camp, resurrecting the Alabama football identity.

“With a program like Alabama, if you don’t win national championships, people think that’s a failure,” Perry said. “In our eyes we did a lot of good things, but we did a lot of bad things. We can use the bad things to our advantage this year and prove that the last two games weren’t Alabama’s style.”

Perry is one of 15 Alabama players who will be playing as a college graduate this fall. He earned his undergraduate degree in business management and in December will receive his master’s degree in sports management.

He admitted that becoming one of the old guys on the team “definitely comes up fast. That’s a big thing now that I have to become a leader. I have to tell these you have to take advantage of your chances. You have to make it happen on the field and make it happen off the field by getting your degree and doing the right things.”

He said it would “mean a lot to me” to earn a starting job in his final season at Alabama. He’s had a few starts along the way and knows that the best players get on the field. “I’ve been here five years, so I can play anything in the secondary. I think they’re confident in my abilities. I’m very versatile and I can play anything.

“As long as we’re winning I think I’m happy.”

Perry is also happy about his final chance at Alabama.

“Yeah, I definitely appreciate it,” he said. “I love it here. When they told me I had an opportunity to come back, I jumped at it. College football is one of the purest (forms) of football there is. You’re playing with guys that you’ve been around since you were a freshman. You go to class with these guys, you hang out with these guys.

“Hopefully, you win with these guys, too.”

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