TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Marlon Humphrey is now the answer man for Alabama’s secondary.
The Crimson Tide’s secondary is full of underclassmen which makes Humphrey one of the old guys heading into his third year in Tuscaloosa.
“It’s a little weird,” Humphrey said. “But it’s just weird to think I’m a redshirt sophomore and I’m not really that freshman that’s just learning. I’m figuring out little things that I didn’t know, maybe just different techniques and other styles.”
Humphrey is slated to start at one of Alabama’s cornerback spots this year. But his role this season extends beyond locking down one side of the field.
Alabama lost veterans Cyrus Jones and Geno Matias-Smith to graduation. Senior safety Eddie Jackson is the lone returning upperclassmen.
That means Humphrey must be more vocal and offer tips on how to decipher Alabama coach Nick Saban’s sometimes-complicated teaching methods.
“Main thing is I just try to practice hard because I know that the younger guys, that’s who you look to when you’re young and you’re confused on some things or in meetings,” Humphrey said. “Sometimes you ask an older guy a question when you don’t exactly understand what Saban means. Typical freshman thing, not exactly understanding. I just try to do the things right that Saban teaches, set a good example.”
Humphrey met with reporters in the main media room for the first time in his career on Wednesday. Humphrey, a Hoover, Ala. native, kept things light and was full of jokes. He laughed about needing to “stop gaining some weight” if he has any hopes of ever competing in the Olympics (Humphrey is a sprinter/hurdler on Alabama’s track team).
Humphrey is now 200 pounds. That’s great for an SEC defensive back, but a little heavy for track and field.
Humphrey has the speed to return kickoffs. But don’t expect him to be back deep anytime soon.
“Umm, I would, but I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know if I want to get hit,” Humphrey said, smiling. “I do, but at the same time, I think they put me running down and blocking for a reason.”
Humphrey earned freshman All-American honors from the FWAA after starting all 15 games last season. Humphrey finished the year with 45 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and eight pass breakups.
Humphrey’s most notable play came in the Crimson Tide’s national championship win over Clemson. With the game tied at 24 in the fourth quarter, Saban felt Alabama needed a big play if his team had any hope of beating Clemson. Saban dialed up an onside kick which kicker Adam Griffith and Humphrey executed to perfection.
“I hear about it every once in a while,” Humphrey said. “I went to Hoover, ate dinner and somebody came and shook my hand and said ‘Thank you for the onside kick.'”
That’s not a bad legacy to have.