NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Alabama coach Nick Saban has called junior linebacker Rolando McClain as smart a player as he’s ever coached.
The 2009 Butkus Award winner might also be as well prepared a player as you’ll find in college football.
Admittedly, he’s a film junkie and would rather watch film than just about anything. He estimates he watches two or three hours a day during the season and sometimes more depending on how well he knows the opposing offense.
He doesn’t discriminate, either. Even when his girlfriend is with him, they usually wind up watching film together.
“She probably knows the offense better than some of my teammates,” McClain joked. “I don’t mind watching film. I don’t go out too much. I’m not a big party guy. I’m usually sitting at home watching film.”
The irony is that McClain rarely watched any film in high school. He said former Alabama assistant Kevin Steele got him started in the film room.
“Now, I watch film instead of watching TV,” said McClain, who leads the Crimson Tide with 101 tackles, including 12.5 for loss.
McClain knows the Alabama defense inside and out. In fact, he knows the responsibilities of every player on the field. He made up his mind following his freshman season that he was going to do everything he could to help take his game to the next level.
It’s no wonder Saban is so fond of McClain, who is essentially an extension of Saban on the field.
“He’s made me who I am,” McClain said of Saban. “He taught me the scheme. He taught me how to work properly and how to lead my team, not just the defense, but the team. He’s pretty much taught me everything I know.”