Kouandjio Still Working On Fantasy

Although he may never have heard of Jerry Duncan, Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio would like to be like Jerry. Not in stature. Too late for that. Duncan, recruited to Alabama in the early 1960s as a running back, was transformed into an offensive tackle, like Kouandjio. Except Duncan was perhaps 5-11, 180.

Cyrus Kouandjio is 6-6 and 310 pounds and is a blocking machine at left tackle for Alabama. Jerry Duncan got the job done as a blocker, but he is most remembered as a pass-catching tackle, notably in the Crimson Tide's 39-28 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to win the 1965 national championship.

In those days, a tackle could be an eligible pass receiver if there was no one on the line – a tight end or wide receiver – outside of him. Alabama quarterback Steve Sloan made good use of the rule, letting Duncan slip out for easy catches.

Unfortunately for Duncan – and today for Kouandjio – Alabama had also used the tactic against Ole Miss, and Rebels Coach John Vaught didn't take kindly to it. Moreover, Vaught was on the football rules committee of the NCAA and was able to have the play outlawed.

There is still a way in pro football to designate an uncovered tackle as an eligible receiver. When Kouandjio spotted the ploy in a game Monday night, the light bulb came on. Kouandjio, a two-year starter at left tackle and a junior who is likely nearing the end of his college career, has this fantasy.

He wants to score a touchdown.

When he saw the pro touchdown, he approached Alabama Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier Tuesday morning. "He said he'd look into it," Kouandjio said. "I'm going to keep pushing for it, see if we can't come to an agreement between me and Coach Nussmeier.

"They'd never see it coming, right?"

Kouandjio may have gotten some inspiration from Alabama being able to run a play with a linebacker (C.J. Mosley) handing off to a safety (Jarrick Williams) to run for a first down out of punt formation in the Tide's 38-17 win over LSU Saturday.

It doesn't stop there.

"I'm going to talk to ‘4' (tailback T.J. Yeldon) to see if he can sneak the ball under my armpit at the goalline and let me run the ball in there."

Kouandjio has to limit fantasy time. He knows there is a job to be done if the Crimson Tide is to continue its undefeated season and quest for a third consecutive national championship. While the Tide finished with a comfortable winning margin against LSU in Tuscaloosa last week, running Bama's record to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in Southeastern Conference games, Kouandjio knows that after the Tide's win over LSU in Baton Rouge last year, Bama had a letdown the next week and lost to Texas A&M.

Kouandjio said, "After a big game like LSU, you have to thing, ‘Okay, let's take a break.' That's being human. But we're going to emphasize this week to go harder than we did last week, and get better, improve so something like the Texas A&M game last year doesn't happen again. It shouldn't happen again. There is no reason we should not be able to get better than we were last week; no reason at all. That's why I'm pushing for my offensive line and the offense, the whole team, we've got to get better."

Alabama, ranked first in the nation, heads to Starkville Saturday to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Mississippi State is 4-5 overall and 1-4 in SEC games. Kickoff will be at 6:45 p.m. CST with television coverage by ESPN.

The Crimson Tide worked for two hours Tuesday in the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility. Kouandjio, who hails from Hyattsville, Maryland, said, "I was looking forward to going outside. It was a pretty good day. Kind of windy, but I like that. When they said ‘indoors,' I was okay; I don't mind."

Kouandjio said that Mississippi State's defense has "powerful defensive ends, powerful interior guys. They move a lot. They try to confuse you. Fundamentally, good players. They've all got good motors.

"This is one of the toughest teams that I'm looking forward to play. Good team. Should be fun."

Kouandjio said that LSU had been "really tough. They are a tough team. They don't want to run around blocks, they don't want to try to run from you. They face you toe-to-toe and they try to own you."

Following the game, Kouandjio said, "We had a good stretch and stride on Sunday after the game, a good lift workout. We don't just jump right into full pads football {after a game). Monday we get into the groove and now Tuesday is the toughest practice all week.

"Everybody is good. Everybody is ready to play."

Colts Blitz Top Stories