Pins Shovns head coach Sam Shade has had some experience playing defensive back.
Shade helped Alabama win a national championship, was picked in the fourth round of the 1995 NFL draft, and played 10 seasons of professional football.
Would he welcome the challenge of trying to cover Heisman Trophy-winning receiver DeVonta Smith?
“At no point in my playing career ̵
Shade, Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 6A Coach of the Year after leading the Indians to a state title in December, saw Crimson Tide beat Ohio State Monday night from the comfort of its own home. It did not diminish his respect for what his alma mater achieved this year.
“I thought they did a good job all year, especially by playing the 10 regular season SEC games and then being able to beat a really good Florida team that had some really talented guys in different positions, which gave them some matchup issues, ”he said. “Then go into the playoffs and win. My hat goes off to them because I know what they have dealt with as far as the COVID protocols and do not have your head coach for a game – probably the biggest game of the regular season against Auburn. I know they have gone through a lot to win this championship. ”
He was particularly impressed with Alabama’s offense and Smith’s play.
“He’s a special player,” Shade said. “I thought (former Alabama offensive coordinator / now Texas head coach Steve) Sarkisian all year, and especially the last few games did a good job of calling. I know myself and some of my staff would go down to Tuscaloosa and talk some ball with him. This is what you do in the low season. But I told them I did not think we were going to Austin. It’s a little too far. ”
When he saw Smith, Shade said he was just doing everything right.
“If you try to push him, he does a good job of getting out of the press,” he said. “If you play him out, he is such a good route runner that he gets in and out of his breaks so well. When you look at him, he has a very good understanding of what the defense is giving him – whether they are in the zone, whether they are in some type of man downstairs.
“He does all these things well, and of course he is really good after the catch. When you’re a point returner, you’re definitely a guy who’s good with the ball in your hands. He’s just really hard to stop, especially with the way coach Sarkisian moved him around. ”
Shade is perhaps even more interested in Alabama next season. His star player at Pinson this year, Mr. Football candidate Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry, signed with the tide in December and is already in Tuscaloosa. McKinstry played on both sides of the ball for the Indians, but will likely find a home in Alabama’s secondary in the near future.
Hypothetically, what would he do if he were to try to cover up Smith?
“He would probably need a few more pecan seasons before he has to cover 6,” Shade said jokingly. “There are some guys who play on Sunday next year who have a hard time covering Devonta. He is one of those guys that you really have to be in your game and really sound on your technique as a player to give yourself a chance to succeed against him 1 on 1. ”