Alabama safety Landon Collins and Florida defensive lineman Gerald Willis will combine for an interesting subplot Saturday when the Gators visit third-ranked Alabama: the two are brothers.
And while there is only the slightest of chances, because both play defense, that they could find themselves in a position to collide on Saturday, they're hoping the opportunity might arise on special teams. Willis has seen some action on Florida's kickoff team this year, and the two have engaged in some trash talk this week.
"It was just nothing but talkin' noise to each other, that's about it," Collins said, according to tidesports.com. "(I'm) trying to get on kickoff return to see if I can block him one time. ... "We're going head first. Just going at it with him, that's all. (I'm going to) hit him hard. There's no let up."
As a star player and leader of the Crimson Tide defense, Collins has the ear of head coach Nick Saban as much as any player. But convincing Saban to alter his special teams lineup just so Collins can try to pick up some sibling bragging rights is probably futile, especially in a conference game. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks listed Collins among the top defensive backs in college football before the season, and former Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage had some high praise for Collins, who leads the Crimson Tide in tackles with 27, during preseason practice. Collins will be eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft if he chooses to skip his last year of college eligibility.
So whom will mom be rooting for on Saturday? According to Collins, she'll be neutral.
"She's not rooting for nobody," Collins said. "She says she's got a split household. She's just gonna be in the middle of the field and cheer for me and Gerald at the same time."