Alabama’s Upshaw draws energy from Saban, Indy visit

INDIANAPOLIS — Whether Courtney Upshaw winds up at linebacker or defensive end in the NFL largely will depend on where he goes in April’s draft, but no

Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw takes questions from the media Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine. (Brian Spurlock/US Presswire)

matter. After four seasons under coach Nick Saban at Alabama, Upshaw feels prepared.

“Background alone, (Saban) tried to teach us that to be great and be ready for the league, (you) prepare to be great, prepare for the league,” Upshaw told reporters Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “So, he got everybody ready, man. He’s a phenomenal coach, and I’m glad to be a player for him.”

Upshaw was part of an outrageous Crimson Tide defense that boasted a laundry list of probable NFL players, including DL Josh Chapman and LB Dont’a Hightower, along with DBs Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie.

Boston Herald reporter Ian Rapoport asked if Upshaw watched the Patriots play, and, if so, saw similarities to what Saban — with deep ties to Bill Belichick — ran at Alabama.

“Honestly, I’m a Colts fan,” Upshaw said, “so I particularly try to watch the Colts’ games all the time, but watching the championship game, I’m also a big defensive fan, so I kind of paid more attention to the Giants because … my friend (receiver) Jerrel Jernigan played there, so I was really focusing on the Giants. So, I mean I really haven’t caught too many Patriots games to be honest with you.”

Upshaw told NFL.com that, as a Colts fan, it has been a special experience to go through the combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“It’s cool, man,” he said. “To be in the facility has been fun. To look at the pictures and stuff up on the wall, of Peyton (Manning) and other guys that I watched. It’s been fun.”

– Marc Sessler

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