Spotlight shifts to Collins in wake of Clinton-Dix suspension
For one thing, it likely means more Landon Collins.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced Clinton-Dix’s suspension Wednesday night, and the domino effect of that — considering Clinton-Dix’s backup at the free safety spot is the now injured and out-for-the-year Nick Perry — is that Collins, along with Geno Smith, will be asked to help pick up the slack for the absent Clinton-Dix, a junior.
While Collins, a sophomore from Geismar, La., doesn’t have a ton of game experience under his belt, he has shown a knack for making big plays as a member of the Alabama special teams. Through four games this season, the 6-foot, 215-pound Collins, a highly touted prospect coming out of high school, has recorded 19 total tackles, which ranks third on the team behind C.J. Mosley (35) and Clinton-Dix (24), and has three pass breakups, three passes defended and one quarterback hurry.
Collins’ two best games statistically this season came against Colorado State (4 tackles, 3 pass breakups) and Texas A&M (7 tackles).
“I don’t know how many times he’s been special teams player of the week, but it’s been several times,” Saban said this week of Collins, prior to Clinton-Dix‘s suspension. “He’s a demon on special teams. There’s no doubt about that, regardless what his role is, and he plays on just about all of (the special teams units).”
Heck, with the way Collins plays, Saban and his staff would probably love to just leave Collins on the field all game long if they could — have him play special teams, defense and offense.
“We feel like Landon is a starter for us in the secondary, whether he has to play safety or whether he plays in dime,” Saban said. “He has a significant role on the defense … I think Landon’s going to do nothing but get better and better as he gets more experience.”
Starting Saturday against Georgia State at Bryant-Denny Stadium (11:21 a.m. kickoff), it appears Collins’ amount of experience is about to go up big time.
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