This is my story for today’s print editions. Read it and have a merry Thursday.
TUSCALOOSA — There’s just something about a 6-foot-6, 335-pound offensive lineman who can’t stop smiling.
It would be easy to expect the opposite from hulking Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker. But as aggressive as he is on the field, the sophomore is just as passive away from it.
And usually smiling.
“Until you talk to him and be around him a lot, you wouldn’t know what type of person he is,” Tide linebacker Nico Johnson said. “He’s a real good person, real nice and well mannered and very humble.”
That same disarming personality may have created a longer adjustment period for Fluker when a new offensive line coach was hired this season at Alabama.
It didn’t take long to realize the demonstrative Jeff Stoutland was not quite as easy going as Joe Pendry, who retired following last season. Fluker said it “takes a little time to get used to it.”
“The yelling. He goes at it with us,” Fluker said, smiling. “But he’s trying to make us better. You have to take the little things he says and make yourself better.”
And Fluker said the improvements have been tremendous this season.
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