TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama's secondary will have its first real test of the season when Texas A&M and quarterback Kellen Mond roll into town on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore safety Jordan Battle, who recorded six tackles in the victory over Missouri last weekend, spoke to the media via Zoom on Tuesday to discuss what kind of challenges the Aggie signal caller presents.
“Of course, he's a great quarterback,” Battle said. “He scrambles outside of the pocket [and] he he keeps his eyes downfield when he's scrambling, so that makes him even more tough. We know we play pretty good in the scrambling quarterback game, so we should play very well against this guy."
While Texas A&M snuck by Vanderbilt, 17-12, in its opener, Mond is in his third, full year of being the starter and an opponent the Crimson Tide is familiar with. Battle says facing off against Alabama's quarterback duo of Mac Jones and Bryce Young in practice helps a great deal for a player like Mond.
“Mac Jones, he can run as well," Battle said. "He throws the ball very well, so he’s much of a dual-threat. And we have Bryce (Young), who is very much of a dual-threat as well. Practicing against those guys is gonna be a great preparation for this guy Kellen Mond.”
Outside of cornerback Patrick Surtain II, Battle has the most experience in the Crimson Tide's defensive backfield after appearing in all 13 games a season ago and having five career starts under his belt.
With Alabama losing four defensive backs from a season ago, Battle reflected on what he learned from those guys and how the roles have reversed for him, to now take charge and be someone younger guys can look up to.
“Guys like Shyheim (Carter), Jared Mayden, Xavier McKinney, they all taught me very well," Battle said. "I was in there, coming in on third down last year, learning and taking notes from them and what they were doing. That’s what made me become a better player back there -- and better leader.”
True freshman safety Malachi Moore was inserted into the starting lineup at Star against the Tigers, and Battle is using this time to take him under his wing, showing him the ropes.
"Of course this year has to be more of a leadership role," Battle said. "I have to come in, I'm a starter now so I have to be more vocal out there when I'm teaching Malachi and everything. Malachi is learning quick on the fly just like every other freshman, so everything is going pretty well right now."
Along with Moore, redshirt-junior defensive back Daniel Wright made his first-career start over the weekend, tallying up a career-high 11 tackles. Battle says the camaraderie he has built with Wright will go a long with this season.
"D-Wright is very smart back there, of course," Battle said. "He's been here for about three to four years, so he knows just about everything. Just him on the side of me knowing what to do and telling me what to do, everything's just going very well. Last year, we were both twos so we already had created a great bond last year.
"Just coming in this year, we’re even more intact and more comfortable back there together.”