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Starting quarterbacks usually wear different colored jerseys in practice to remind defenders not to hit them. But mistakes happen.
Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. will never forget his this season. He accidentally hit quarterback Bryce Young in the throwing arm and on his head.
There was a hush over the practice field as a stunned Young tried to gather himself. Players rushed over and said, “Is he OK?”
Then Alabama outside linebacker coach Sal Sunseri jumped in.
“He started cussing me out,” Anderson said. “He’s like, ‘I told you.'”
But Young was fine, which was a good thing as he is expected to become the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night (7 p.m. central, ESPN).
“One time, and I’ve never done it again,” Anderson said on a teleconference this week. “We went through a two-minute drill, and I swore I didn’t hit Bryce. But it’s kind of hard when you’re rushing the passer, and you’re going full speed and trying to stop. It’s your natural instinct to put your hands up. So, I put my hands up, and he was throwing the ball. And my hand came down on his arm and his head.”
Anderson, who was named to the first unit of the coaches’ All-SEC team on Tuesday, will be careful not to repeat that in the coming weeks as No. 1 Alabama (12-1) prepares to play No. 4 Cincinnati (13-0) in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas on Dec. 31 (2:30 p.m. central, ESPN).
The winner plays the winner of the late game on New Year’s Eve (6:30 p.m., ESPN) between No. 2 Michigan (12-1) and No. 3 Georgia (12-1) for the national championship on Jan. 10 in Indianapolis (7 p.m., ESPN).
“That was the only time,” Anderson said.
Anderson and Young swept the SEC individual awards by the Associated Press and SEC coaches on Wednesday.
Alabama is a 14-point favorite to beat Cincinnati by FanDuel.
Anderson looked ready to play shortly after Alabama defeated touchdown-favorite Georgia, 42-24, in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.
“It was very exciting,” Anderson said. “I just wanted some respect put on our name and remember that we are Alabama.”