TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After seeing the film, Alabama football coach Nick Saban said the hit Crimson Tide defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand took to the leg against Ole Miss was indeed a legal play.
Midway through the third quarter, Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox struck Hand’s left leg with what appeared to be a brutal cut block. Saban saw no malice in the play.
“Yeah, it was legal. He just cut him,” Saban said. “If it’s illegal, we should eliminate cut blocking. I’ve been an advocate of that for a long time, but you’re allowed to cut. It was a legal block. Until someone changes the rule, there’s nothing illegal about it.”
The play resulted in Hand suffering an MCL injury. He’ll be sidelined for this game and “maybe more,” according to Saban.
Alabama tight end Hale Hentges said he cut blocks three or four times a game. While acknowledging how unfortunate the injury was, Hentges wouldn’t call the play dirty either.
“I don’t think it’s dirty in its element because they teach defenders how to stop it,” Hentges said. “Obviously that play looked a little gruesome but it was legal and it was something, a similar angle to what we do and what we teach. It’s unfortunate but it was legal. Prayers go out to Da’Shawn, I love that guy, but hopefully we can see him get a speedy recovery because it was just a very unfortunate accident.”
Alabama linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said defenders are taught to get their hands on the offensive players shoulder pads to stop the force of the blow.
Hamilton noted that it’s all about paying attention to detail, and added that he doesn’t view cut blocks as dirty plays.
“I mean, nah. It’s football,” Hamilton said. “Things like that are going to happen. As a defender, you just have to do your job and get your hands on top of the guy’s shoulder pads and stop him.”
Alabama travels to College Station, Texas, to face Texas A&M next Saturday.
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