Tide's Collins works to move up depth chart
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Aug 22, 2013 | 2404 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama safety Landon Collins made a name for himself with a series of big hits on special teams as a freshman, and that has created interest in him for 2013.

Collins, a five-star recruit out of Geismar, La., played in all 14 games last season and recorded 17 tackles. He tied for the team lead with 10 special-teams tackles, including nine on kickoff coverage and one on punt coverage.

“Landon is an outstanding player,” Tide coach Nick Saban said Thursday. “He’s an outstanding special teams player. And as Landon learns and gets confident in what he does ... I think sometimes guys get a little frustrated that they don’t learn fast enough, because they really want to be good, they put a lot of pressure on themselves to be good.

“And Landon’s that way, which are all good qualities. Now, he probably is comfortable and confident in what he’s supposed to do.”

One of the biggest struggles for a young defensive back is learning the playbook, but Tide cornerback Deion Belue said Collins has it down.

“Landon’s the type of guy that comes in day in and day out,” Belue said. “The only thing you can expect from him is 110 percent because he’s going to bring it every practice. He’s looking really great out there. He knows his playbook backward and forward, so it looks really well.”

Collins may get his chance to showcase those skills in 2013. He has worked at the “money” position, Alabama’s sixth defensive back, when the Tide line up in its dime package. Collins also practices at safety with the second team.

“He has played really well, especially this fall camp,” Saban said. “He’s definitely going to have a role in dime situations for us this year and is in competition at safety as well. I think he’s one of our best safeties as well.”

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri have worked as the first-team safeties, but Collins is on one or both of their heels.

“Landon’s at the top of the peak right now,” Clinton-Dix said earlier this month. “He’s doing very well, run conflict, pass conflict, he can cover it. He’s very physical. So he’s doing a great job for us right now.”

Collins is also competing with senior Nick Perry for snaps. Perry said Collins has become better in pass coverage, a necessary asset when defending spread offenses.

“Landon has really improved since his freshman year,” Perry said. “Landon is a big hitter. He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s really what you want at safety. He’s your prototypical safety, and I really can’t wait to see what he can do on the field this year.”
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