VIDEO: Da’Ron Payne Talks Challenge of Facing Florida State
The Alabama defense will feature a number of new faces in 2017 and there won't be anytime to get adjusted as Florida State awaits on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide will first have to deal with redshirt sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois, who threw for 3,300 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for another five scores. He's similar to Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, which serves the defense well during practice.
"I think we've got a good quarterback in Jalen Hurts, and both of them are mobile quarterbacks so we've been trying to practice staying in our rushing lanes and just getting after them as a whole," defensive lineman Da'Ron Payne said.
Opening up against a team as talented as the Seminoles has helped focus and motivation during the long offseason, and Payne said this game will tell them a lot.
"It's always exciting to open up the game with the competition that we're opening up with. It's going to be a good test to see where we're at as a team. We're going to be able to see all the work that we've put in."
For Payne personally, he's worked hard this offseason on conditioning and strength as he prepares to step into the starting noseguard spot.
"Coach Cochran and the nutrition staff made a weight for me and I try to stay within that weight and just cut back on a lot of stuff. And then get a little extra cardio in. Coach Saban always tells me that he thinks it helps all phases of my game so I've been trying to abide by that."
Saturday's game kicks off at 7 PM/CT on ABC. Tide 102.9 and 95.3 the Bear will have full coverage beginning at 2 PM/CT.