Alabama Football: Where should Minkah Fitzpatrick start against FSU?

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Minkah Fitzpatrick
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Minkah Fitzpatrick /

Where should the most versatile player on the Alabama football team start against FSU? Minkah Fitzpatrick should play cornerback in game one.

Alabama football is blessed with experienced talent in the secondary. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Anthony Averett and Ronnie Harrison are three of the best in the nation.

A recent rating of 2017 defensive players listed Minkah as the best cornerback in the nation and the third best defensive player. A June list compiled by Bleacher Report rated the Alabama football secondary as the second best in the nation. Also relevant, FSU was rated the top secondary.

Additionally, Minkah and Ronnie Harrison were rated as the second and fourth best safeties in the nation by The same list rated Anthony Averett as the eighth best cornerback in the nation. rated Minkah as No. 20 on its list of the best 150 players in college football.

As Alabama football fans know, the three highly rated Tide players are joined by two more, very good defensive backs. The mercurial and highly talented Tony Brown has the physical tools to be as good as his teammates. Senior Hootie Jones has played in 28 games in his three season Crimson Tide career. Jones does not have the flash of his teammates but he is a solid performer.

In addition, there is the athletically gifted Trevon Diggs. Nick Saban said prior to Saturday’s practice that Diggs is settled in as a cornerback with no plans to use him as a receiver. Diggs has an abundance of potential to become a great Alabama football cornerback. He is not there yet.

Minkah at safety or cornerback?

Defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt said on Saturday Fitzpatrick is so versatile he can play all six Alabama football, secondary positions. Neither Saban or Pruitt gave any hint where Minkah will start against FSU. In the first two practice sessions of fall camp, Minkah has worked at corner and safety.

While discussing starters for the Alabama football defense, the key number is five. Alabama’s defense is structured around a 3-4 set but the base Tide defense is the nickel. Alabama football has five defensive backs on the field about 65 percent of the time, depending upon an opponent’s offense.

Therefore, against FSU it makes the most sense to go with the most experience. In the opening game, the nickel group should be Averett and Minkah at corner, Tony Brown at Star, plus Harrison and Hootie Jones at safety.

When the Tide goes to the dime against FSU, Trevon Diggs, Levi Wallace, Deointe Thompson or Shyheim Carter can be added. Which one of the four is added would depend on where Minkah and Brown are used in the dime. On the basis of game experience, Wallace or Carter have the edge as the sixth defensive back. Wallace plays corner and Carter normally plays star.

Trevon Diggs will be a star in time

We fully expect Trevon Diggs to fulfill his potential as an Alabama football cornerback. But he needs time and game experience. The FSU game is likely to be a low-scoring contest. One or two big plays may determine the outcome. Risking Diggs being burned on a long pass is not a good plan.

One game coverage adjustments, giving Diggs extra help, seems to be an unnecessary band-aid. In the nickel, the Tide should play its five most experienced players. In conclusion starting Diggs at corner after FSU makes more sense.

Next: 30 Great Tide Players who were 3-Star Recruits

How the Tide lines up against FSU will not be known in advance. Nick Saban will be careful to guard information and force Jimbo to prepare for many different options. FSU will be prepared to attack Diggs if he starts. They will be forced to adjust if he does not.