In just his first full game at strong safety in place of Vinnie Sunseri, Collins was named SEC defensive player of the week after returning his first career interception 89 yards for a touchdown. He also had six tackles in the Crimson Tide's 45-10 victory over Tennessee.
“Landon’s always been a fantastic special teams player,” Tide coach Nick Saban said today in Birmingham before an appearance at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club. “His role has just increased with us ever since he’s been here now that he really feels confident in playing the safety position as well as money when we’re in nickel and dime.”
Collins was also named one of 15 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive back. Former Tide cornerback Dee Milliner was one of three finalists last season.
Collins is second on the team with 34 tackles. He also has a forced fumble and five pass breakups to go along with his interception.
“He’s made a lot of good plays for us. He’s a very explosive player,” Saban said. “He’s confident right now in knowing what to do and what’s expected of him, which I think is the biggest thing that’s contributed to him being able to play so well for us.”
With Sunseri done for the year with a knee injury, Collins is expected to start at strong safety for the remainder of the season.
If you ever want to hear Saban speak highly of a player, just ask him about senior linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Saban praises Mosley at every turn and Mosley backs up his coaches’ words with his play on the field.
Mosley’s play has also earned him national recognition as he was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker. Mosley leads the team with 59 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. He has been named an Alabama coaching staff player of the week following every game.
Saban said Mosley is productive and deserves a lot of national recognition for what he does.
“C.J. has been probably our most dominant defensive player week in and week out. Very consistent,” Saban said. “I don’t think people really even realize how much effort, how much passion he has to play.”
Mosley also goes the extra mile to help his teammates make plays.
“When Deion Belue intercepted the pass, everybody just said Deion Belue intercepted the pass,” Saban said. “We had four guys get blocks on the return, and C.J. Mosley got three blocks. Three -- not one, three. And we had three other guys get a block. That’s how he plays.”
After starting the first seven games of the season, Alabama nose tackle Brandon Ivory missed the Tennessee game for “medical reasons.”
When asked about Ivory's status going forward, Saban was straight to the point.
“No, he's fine,” Saban said.
True freshman A'Shawn Robinson started in place of Ivory and had six tackles. Darren Lake also played significant snaps against the Volunteers.