Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson has received beneficial advice from a past program great.
As reported by AL.com’s Matt Zenitz, Anderson reveals that former Crimson Tide defensive end Wallace Gilberry — now with the Cincinnati Bengals — will send constructive criticism via text messages to Anderson while watching Alabama play.
Anderson considers Gilberry a mentor-like figure for good reason. Zenitz reports that Anderson has received help from Gilberry, who played for Alabama from 2004 to 2007, since the current Alabama defensive standout was young. When Anderson was a freshman at Daphne (Ala.) High School, Gilberry started taking him to work with Gilberry’s longtime trainer, Lyle Henley. From there, their relationship grew.
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These aren’t the typical congratulatory texts that players get during and after games. They’re constructive criticism —messages and feedback that Gilberry, a former Tide star and current Cincinnati Bengal, will send throughout the game.
“He’s texting me all throughout the games,” said Anderson, a redshirt senior. “I get back in the locker room and I have five or six texts from him, just coaching me. Even if I got a sack or something, he’s still on me telling me what I need to do, so that’s always helping.”
“It’s just stuff that I see him doing that I know he can do better,” Gilberry said. “If I see it, I’ve got to send it to him because I know he’s going to end up playing good, and I don’t want him to forget the things that he could have done better. So when they’re on my mind, I have to shoot it over to him. And he always follows back with ‘I know.’ And then he always gets it fixed the next week and has another hellacious game.”
Gilberry is a great resource for Anderson to have, and the current Alabama player is wise to listen. When with the Crimson Tide, Gilberry had a career-high 79 tackles and 10 sacks in 2007. He developed a reputation as one of the program’s top defensive linemen.
Gilberry, who have five tackles this season, has spent time in the NFL with the Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions. Kudos to Anderson for maintaining the connection and growing from it.