TUSCALOOSA | Dee Hart may be the smallest in the University of Alabama's running back rotation, but the Crimson Tide freshman doesn't play like it.
The Orlando, Fla., native saw his most extensive playing time of the season Saturday against Florida Atlantic, not only getting action at running back but on punt returns as well. Hart is also a member of the UA kickoff squad, which is no job for the timid.
"Dee, we all know he's a small guy. But he plays like he's 6-2, 230 pounds," said running back Eddie Lacy.
Hart has rushed for 81 yards on 20 carries this season on offense, and returned two punts against the Owls for another 28 yards. On the kickoff team, he's made two tackles and forced a fumble.
Lacy said the 5-foot-9, 190-pound Hart is fearless when it comes to pass protection, as well.
"If a defensive lineman comes through and he has to block him, mostly likely he's not going to cut him," Lacy added. "He's going to try to hit him right in the facemask. That says a lot about him and his character."
Linebacker C.J. Mosley was named one of the coaching staff's players of the week on Monday for the fourth consecutive game this season. The junior is the only UA player to be picked as a player of the week for every game.
"C.J. is awesome, man. ... He escapes a lot of situations that a lot of guys can't escape. And he does things, you know, he just pops up when the ball is thrown to the flats," said defensive end Damion Square. "And he finds the end zone some type of way. Every year he's been here, he finds out how to get to the end zone in big games and big situations."
Mosley leads UA in tackles, with 29, by a wide margin. He and fellow linebacker Adrian Hubbard are the only UA defenders who have made 10 or more solo stops, and Mosley leads the team with 15.
"To be player of the week four times in a row is an honor, but that's really a thing that bothers me too much, if I do or don't get it," Mosley said. "It's all about just staying consistent."
Freshmen on hold
Barring injury or some other compelling circumstance, don't look for any more of Alabama's true freshmen to see the field this season than already have.
"I think if a guy hasn't played to this point, we probably don't really plan to play them. But we may not have the luxury to do that," said UA coach Nick Saban. "I think that we continue to try to develop all the players that are freshmen and if we get injuries or have an issue or a problem depthwise at a position, we may have to play someone else who we thought maybe we wouldn't need to play."
True freshmen who have yet to play for Alabama this year include Dakota Ball, Ryan Anderson, Alphonse Taylor, Caleb Gulledge, Chris Black (injured), Kurt Freitag, Brandon Greene, Adam Griffith, Korren Kirven, Alec Morris, Dalvin Tomlinson and Eddie Williams. Those that finish the season without playing would redshirt and retain four subsequent years of eligibility.
Alabama's No. 2 nose guard, Brandon Ivory, sustained an ankle injury against Florida Atlantic on Saturday and had to be helped off the field. Saban said Monday that Ivory will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
"He won't practice today. He's probably going to be questionable for this week," saiid Saban.
UA's other options at nose guard behind starter Jesse Williams include freshmen Wilson Love and Darren Lake.
"That's a position that Marcell Dareus played, who was a great player, and Terrence Cody, Josh Chapman was down in the middle and all of those guys were great players. I take pride in being in there. It takes a different guy to get in there and play double teams and sacrifice yourself for the team to say the least." - Damion Square on his duty as an interior defensive lineman in passing situations
Alabama's players of the week were Eddie Lacy and D.J. Fluker on offense, and Mosley and Robert Lester on defense. Special teams players of the week were kicker Cade Foster, running back Dee Hart and safety Vinnie Sunseri. ... Wide receiver Kevin Norwood appeared limited in individual drills during Monday's media viewing period. Norwood played sparingly against Florida Atlantic. ... The Crimson Tide practiced outdoors in shorts Monday in preparation for its first home Southeastern Conference game of the season against Ole Miss. ... Alabama leads its all-time series with Ole Miss 45-9-2. ... UA-Ole Miss is set for an 8:15 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.