SEC Media Days: Alabama’s Will Anderson uses championship loss as motivation for upcoming season

ATLANTE – At the 2022 SEC Media Days in Atlanta, Crimson Tide Linebacker WIll Anderson Jr. answered many questions from the media. Anderson, winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy last season (awarded to the best defensive player in the nation), led the team and the country in tackles for loss (34.5), reflecting last season’s growing pains.

Along with losing to SEC rival Georgia 33-18 in the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Anderson had six tackles in Alabama’s 41-38 loss to Texas A&M. Anderson admitted he didn’t play to his high standards.

“I can honestly say there was one time in my career at Alabama where I wasn’t on my game like I should have been,” Anderson said when asked what game l helped him grow as a player. “I fight for it all the time. After this time, I had to question myself (and think) about the next steps to improve. It was one of the games where I was hard on myself and the rest is history.

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson and defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis lift the SEC Championship trophy after winning the 2021 SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. ( Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Since that game, Anderson has put in a historic defensive performance averaging 6.8 tackles and 1.7 sacks per game. He finished the season with 102 tackles and 17.5 sacks. The only game he didn’t record a sack was the College Football Playoff National Championship game against Georgia.

As Anderson transitions into his junior season, he uses the national championship loss to fuel his fire. He said defensive players deserved to win the Heisman Trophy.

“We still have that feeling,” Anderson said.