23 June 2008
| Marquis Johnson - #24 - CB - 5-11 - 186 lbs. - Moulton, AL - Lawrence County HS - 2 Varsity Letters
Marquis’ 2007 season will probably be best (or worst) remembered for his play in the Tide’s game against Florida State in Jacksonville. Marquis was beaten time and again for big plays by the Seminole receivers, mostly on short passes where he failed to stop the play after the catch.
That’s been the problem with Marquis during his career at Alabama – physicality. He’s made just 4 tackles through his first 2 seasons, and has been terribly ineffective in press coverage situations. That simply will not work in Nick Saban’s defense.
While it’s certainly not early in his career, there are still 2 years left for Marquis to get more physical. Nick Saban
and Kirby Smart
are two of the best in the business at teaching DB technique, and I expect that a full year in the strength and conditioning program, followed by another spring of coaching will give Marquis a much better chance to succeed.
: The key for an good DB is to have a short memory. Hopefully Bama fans will also have one with Marquis. With Lionel Mitchell
now gone he’s likely to see playing time, at least early in the season.
Unless one of the incoming freshman DBs (Alonzo Lawrence
, Robby Green
& Robert Lester
) can take over the left cornerback spot, the Star position in Bama’s nickel package will be open, and Marquis will battle Chris Rogers
, Ali Sharrief
, the above mentioned freshman, and freshman Mark Barron
for time there.
His experience will either work as a great positive or a great negative for him. If it works for him as a positive, then it allows the coaches the opportunity to look at a redshirt for guys like Green and Lester. As was demonstrated last season with Kareem Jackson
, Bama's coaches are not afraid to play a true freshman in the defensive backfield.
So if Marquis continues to struggle to tackle, then he’ll be on the sidelines a lot. If he can step up and use his hopefully gained physicality, then he’ll continue to get time in the nickel and dime packages. Nick Saban's patience with DB is probably the shortest of any position, so Marquis will not be allowed to make the same mistakes as last season.