TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama outside linebacker Ryan Anderson isn’t a fan of being labeled as merely a pass rusher.
In fact, Anderson wants his entire position group to be viewed differently because the stigma bothers him “a little bit.”
“A lot of people say we’re pass rushers. We’re not. We stop the run,” Anderson said Wednesday. “That’s what (outside linebackers) Coach Tosh (Lupoi) says, ‘You stop the run, you have some fun.’ So we take pride in stopping the run. We’re not just pass rushers.”
Alabama had plenty of “fun” getting after opposing quarterbacks last season as the Crimson Tide lead the nation with 52 sacks. From that group, Anderson (six sacks), Tim Williams (10.5 sacks) and Jonathan Allen (12 sacks) all returned for their senior seasons. Allen and Williams both ranked in the top 15 nationally in sacks a season ago. Guys like Rashaan Evans (four sacks) and Da’Shawn Hand (three sacks) are back as well, and are expected to play bigger roles this season.
However, Alabama also led the nation in rushing defense, allowing opposing ground attacks a mere 75.7 yards per game.
Why does the notion bother Anderson when the Tide has so many prolific pass rushers?
“Because I take pride in being an all-around player, not just being somebody they go up against on third down and just run up the field,” Anderson said.
In Anderson’s defense, the rising senior is one of those players who is physical enough to set the edge against the run while also having the speed and ability to bring down the quarterback.