Alabama Football: Is Dre Kirkpatrick Bringing Too Much Swag for Alabama?
Larry Burton (Syndicated Writer) Last year, Kevin Norwood did a goal-line somersault on a touchdown catch, and we rarely saw him again.
Bottom line: Coach Nick Saban doesn't like hot dogs, at least not the showboating kind.
But he knew when he signed Dre Kirkpatrick that he was also getting the swag associated with him and if there's one position close to Saban's own heart that he allows a little extra emotion and swag, it's at cornerback where a man is on an island.
It should come as no surprise that Kirkpatrick brought his swag. One still can't forget his signing day statement.
He looked at the Tennessee cap on the table and said, "This hat right here. It don't have enough swag," and then he unwrapped an Alabama one.
And when he first came to Alabama, all he had was talent and that swagger. Getting playing time as a freshman, he realized that neither of those two things alone could carry him to become a top defender in the SEC.
He was often criticized for arm tackling instead of planting ball carriers, he was sometimes out of position and was sometimes burned, but instead of losing the swagger, he looked for the missing pieces to add to the talent and swagger to make him a complete player.
Part of that was painstaking film study and self-criticism; the other part has working to be a role model, not just in practice and game time, but the off-season fourth quarter program. That drive and effort in the fourth quarter program put another 20 pounds of muscle on him.
Does Dre have too much swag?
No, Kirkpatrick doesn't have too much swag for a Nick Saban team; he makes sure these days that he uses it sparingly now, just enough to let the opposing offenses know that it's there.
The difference this coming year is that Kirkpatrick is finally at a place in his career where his muscles, his knowledge and his leadership can finally cash those checks his swag writes.
The sad thing for Alabama though, is that everybody in the NFL will see that, too, and you can chalk up another early departure to the NFL, as Kirkpatrick is looking more like the first-round draft choice many thought he'd be one day.
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