Alabama Ready to Get Defenders Lost in Its Maze

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IAugust 1, 2009

"Dag Nabbit!  He was here a second ago! Where did he go?"

That will be the question many a cornerback will ask this year once they get lost in the Bama 'Maze game.'

With this 'Maze game,' if you ever take your eyes off of Marquis Maze, you're liable to get lost really fast trying to find and catch up to him.

At 5'10" and around 179 pounds, Maze is neither big nor tall, but he won't beat teams by running over opponents.  He'll run around them or away from them and widen the gap between them with every step.

In a sport where speed is everything at skilled positions like receiver, Maze has no equal in Crimson.

For a long time on campus, it was thought that running back Terry Grant was the fastest Tider until this spring, when Maze ended that discussion with a post-practice race.

And to think earlier this year some fans and media types were all wondering if Alabama could come up with someone to take the heat of sophomore sensation Julio Jones.

The roster actually has some good returning athletes besides Maze, like Mike McCoy and Darius Hanks who are sure to see playing time along with a few talented incoming freshmen.

By all accounts however, it was Maze who stole the spring spotlight as well as the MVP honors from the spring 'A Day Game' with 87 yards receiving and 47 yards rushing. 

And this was against what many think could be one of the nation's top two defenses.

Nick Saban usually has an unusual smile on his face when he talks of Marquis Maze.

"He's a guy who can be a playmaker for us," Saban said. "I'm very encouraged by the spring that he had, but it's still too early to ask for a depth chart."

People inside the program are all amazed by Maze and see him as the quick 'Home run hit" the Tide may turn to when they're in the mood to stretch the field.

And while Maze won't be leaving people asking "Julio Who?", he is the perfect compliment to Julio's style of receiver.

While Julio can leap and do the sideline catches or bust a short route into a long gain with broken tackles and run over corner-backs, Maze is the pure deep threat that all teams dread.

Don't forget, it was Maze who pulled in the last touchdown pass McElroy threw last year, that perfectly timed bomb in the corner of the end-zone.

They have a successful history with one another and if the spring game was any indication, they will continue to add to it.

Saban always likes to say, there is no starting lineup until the day before the first game, but right now my money is Maze to get the yeoman's work on the other side of Julio.

And opponents can start fretting over him now.


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