Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller step up without Anfernee JenningsBy Cody Estremera | 01/07/2018 2:02pm
Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller will look to replace Anfernee Jennings against Georgia.
ATLANTA— Alabama’s opening game against Florida State was called the greatest opener ever by some. The game wasn’t as close as some fans thought, but it started a trend for Alabama that it didn’t want: injured linebackers.
It started with Rashaan Evans and Anfernee Jennings going down early in the game. Terrell Lewis went down with 4:55 in the third quarter, followed by Christian Miller, who went down late in the fourth quarter.
Now, 128 days later, three of the four return to the spot of their injuries.
“It’s crazy how God really does stuff, that I’m back to the place where everyone said my season would be over,” Lewis said. “I’ve definitely thought about it, but I’m just trying to keep all my focus on how I’m going to stop Georgia. It’s definitely a thing that’s crossed my mind being back here.”
Lewis suffered an elbow injury, while Miller went down with a biceps injury. Both were called season ending injuries.
“I knew I had to- control what I could control,” Miller said. “That was going with a good attitude into rehab, and doing everything I could to get back as fast as I could. My spirits were pretty high; I was surrounded by a lot of good people.”
The two came back against Auburn, in Alabama’s lone defeat of the season, recording three tackles between them [Lewis had two tackles], but failed to live up to their own expectations.
“It was just the feeling of getting back into playing mode and getting a feel for the game again,” Lewis said. “I felt OK, but I feel as if I wasn’t playing my best.”
Against Clemson however, Lewis said that he felt more comfortable once he started to play faster and after he got a couple of game reps. He finished with a pair of tackles and a pass breakup.
Even though Lewis’ play started to pick back up, the Alabama linebackers took another hit. Jennings went down late in the fourth quarter with a sprained knee, which will keep him out of the national championship. Jennings finished his season with 41 tackles and two forced fumbles.
“I hate it for him,” Miller said. “I know how it feels. I’m just going to go do everything I can to get this win for him, since he did everything he did to get us here when me and Terrell got hurt.”
Lewis will step into Jennings role in the base packages, while he, Miller and Jamey Mosley will split up duties on sub packages.
“I’m just ready to go, and I know we are too, definitely just because we have that extra motivation of Anfernee,” Mosley said. “We have a warrior that’s not able to go to war with us. We know we have to pick up that slack for him… We are going to be ready for this game.”