Brian Branch’s Versatility Has Elevated Alabama’s Defense
Alabama defensive back Brian Branch turned in one of the finest performances of his career against Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl. The Georgia native was flying all over the field, registered a team-high eight tackles, including six solo tackles, two pass breakups and 0.5 sacks.
Branch helped limit Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder to 144 passing yards, his second-lowest total of the season and season-lows in both completion percentage (53.1) and yards per attempt (4.5).
“Oh, yeah, B.B. is a really great player,” said Christian Harris. “That's really the truth. You see these guys working every day in practice. When they come out to the game and they have that breakout game where everybody starts to take notice, you're not really surprised by it. Like I said, I see it every day. He's a hard worker. We love to have him and love what he does for us.”
The sophomore lined up at every position in Alabama’s defensive backfield during fall camp, but has settled into the Star position. The versatile defensive back provides tremendous value for this Alabama defense because he effects the game in a number of different ways.
“We love Brian Branch, man,” said Jordan Battle before the season. “He’s very versatile. He’s played the Star position, the cornerback position and the safety position. He has a great future ahead at ‘Bama, and he’s gonna continue to do great things. And I love his effort and everything he does.”
As Branch has grown as a player this season so has the Alabama defense. In the Iron Bowl, he finished the game with four tackles, including one for loss. Against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, Branch totaled three tackles and two pass breakups.
Branch is no stranger to playing well in Alabama’s biggest games of the year. As a true freshman, Branch started both games in the College Football Playoff and was exceptional. He recorded four tackles while breaking up a season-high three passes in the National Championship against Ohio State.