Why Will Anderson Jr. may be Alabama’s key to winning its second straight national championship

It’s been almost a month, so the bummer is wearing off for Will Anderson Jr. The College Football Playoff National Championship should have been enough by now to overshadow Anderson not being a Heisman Trophy finalist.


“I gave Will a couple of days before I spoke to him about it,” said Clifford Fedd, the Alabama sophomore linebacker’s former coach at Dutchtown High School. “I know Will Anderson. I know him very well. I know where his mind will go. I know where is head space will go. It was not in a bad place, but it wasn’t where it needed to be.”

About a month ago, Fedd had what he called a “harsh, grown conversation” with Anderson, perhaps the game’s supreme edge rusher. It was then he dialed up the metaphor that has endured to this week before the title game: Anderson’s body, the coach said, is like an engine.

“As long as the body of the vehicle has a strong engine, it doesn’t matter what kind of rims and tires it has on it,” Fedd said. “Our vehicle is never in park. We don’t have a park button. We don’t have review mirrors, and we don’t have reverse.”

That comparison stuck with Anderson when (some believe) he was overlooked for the Heisman. The defensive player selected as a finalist ahead of him, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, finished second in the voting. Anderson finished fifth with the third-most first-place votes.

“[He] really opened my eyes,” Anderson said of Fedd. “It was like, ‘Man, you were right.’ As long as I’ve got my engine, that’s all I need for my car to keep going. Anything that comes along with it makes it look nice.”

There was social media outrage in some quarters over the “snub”. It may have been a simple case of Anderson splitting votes with teammate and eventual Heisman-winning quarterback Bryce Young….


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