TUSCALOOSA — Alabama true freshman linebacker Denzel Devall is getting more and more playing time each week, and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he has earned it.
Saban said during his weekly radio show Thursday night Devall has athletic ability and has made plays. In Saturday’s 38-7 win over Mississippi State, the native of Bastrop, La., had a quarterback sack, another tackle that resulted in a 13-yard loss and two quarterback hurries.
“Denzell Devall has been a guy that we’ve played a little more,” Saban said. “Now that he has a little more confidence, knowledge, experience, whatever you want to call it, in what to do, we can play him some in nickel situations. He does have some pass rush ability. He helped us in the last game and he was active in the last game. We want to continue to use him in a role that he feels comfortable with.”
For the season, Devall has 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Alabama’s AJ McCarron has passed his way onto the list of 10 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
The award began in 1987, and only one Southeastern Conference quarterback not named Manning has won it — Alabama’s Jay Barker in 1994. Tennessee’s Peyton Manning won it in 1997, followed by brother Eli Manning of Ole Miss in 2003.
This year’s list of finalists has three quarterbacks from the SEC, including McCarron, who has 18 touchdown passes this season, no interceptions and leads the country in passing efficiency. Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson made the cut, too.
The rest of the list includes Matt Barkley, Southern California; Landry Jones, Oklahoma; Collin Klein, Kansas State; EJ Manuel, Florida State; Denard Robinson, Michigan; Geno Smith, West Virginia; and Tyler Tettleton, Ohio.
For any children who rang Saban’s doorbell on Halloween night looking for treats and nobody answered, the Tide coach apologizes.
During football season, Wednesday is the only night during the week he gets to eat dinner at home. Since this particular Wednesday also was his birthday, he and his family turned out all the lights, went upstairs, and spent about 30 minutes eating dinner and opening cards and presents.
“Lights out, doorbell ringing, dogs barking -- it was something,” Saban said.
“Once we ate, we went back downstairs, turned our lights on and started giving out candy again. I felt bad about doing it that way, but it’s the only time of the week we have a family sit-down dinner for 20 minutes.”