Alabama Football: Will Anderson Jr. challenging opposing teams and teammates

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Don’t tell Alabama football linebacker, Will Anderson Jr. that college football is all about tempo and scoring explosions. Anderson has some old-school in him, and to him, football is about defense and domination.

On Monday Anderson shared with the media his thoughts on the last Crimson Tide season and the next one. Asked to describe the Crimson Tide, 2022 defense, Anderson said,

"The personality of this defense is just to be mean, play fast, hit people in the mouth."

Those words could not be any closer to Nick Saban’s definition of how a defense becomes dominant. Saban and the Alabama staff have developed that attitude in Anderson, but they did not create it. He arrived in Tuscaloosa with the same perspective.

The Alabama football defense improved during the 2021 season and finished near the top of the FBS in several stats. The Crimson Tide was No. 7 overall and No. 2 in the SEC in average yards allowed (304.1 yards). It was No. 7 nationally and No.1 in the SEC in allowing only 31.25% of its opponent’s third-down conversions. The Tide defense was No. 4 in the FBS and No. 2 in the SEC in rushing yards allowed per game (86 yards). Not quite as good, but far from bad, was the Tide being No. 18 nationally, and No. 3 in the SEC, in scoring defense (20.1 points).

The poorest stat from the Tide defense last season was passing yards allowed per game. The Tide was No. 50 nationally and No. 7 in the SEC (218.1 yards).

Most Impressive 2021 Alabama Football Stats

Last season’s stats that really pop out are team sacks and tackles for a loss. The Crimson Tide was tied with Oklahoma State in total team sacks at 57. It was No. 3 in average sacks per game at 3.8. In total team, tackles for a loss, the Tide was No. 1 overall. In TFL average per game, Alabama was tied for No. 3 overall and No. 1 in the SEC at 8.1 per game.

The Nagurski Award winner, Anderson led the Tide defense with 34.5 tackles for a loss. including 17.5 sacks. As a sophomore, Anderson led the nation with 16 solo sacks.

Even with those impressive numbers, Will Anderson Jr. expects the 2022 Crimson Tide defense to be improved. Speaking recently, Anderson said,

"I think we are capable of being better than we were last year. I think, starting towards the end, we started to gel a little bit more, but I think we just want to roll that over to the spring. I think that’s one of the biggest things, just keep gelling, keep working together, everybody playing together, everybody playing faster and physical."

Anderson is clearly putting teammates on notice for the performance he will demand. More significantly, a 2022 Crimson Tide defense, performing better than last season can only cause apprehension for opposing offensive coaches.

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Note: Stats in this post were retrieved from and