Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Jameson Williams (left) blocks Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback Coby Bryant (8) during the 2021 Cotton Bowl. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The game was never in doubt.


Alabama beat Cincinnati 27-6, which was more business as usual than the familiar crushing of souls. The Bearcats played hard, and they gave a good account of themselves. You can definitely see why they were undefeated. In the end, it was Alabama being Alabama.


After the game, I get my press credential and try to figure out what I’m going to ask. I have one hard and fast rule…I ask one question and one question only. I’m not a journalist, and I don’t want to be a journalist. I consider myself a storyteller.


The very first guy up was the perfect story. That name was the perfect story.


Coby Bryant. 


It can become a bit humbling when you get to an age where not only the heroes of a generation have namesakes, but the namesakes are now old enough to make a name for themselves. 


I asked a basic question. He gave a basic answer. 


Q. When the score is around 7-3, 10-3 near the half, it was a really close game. Do you think there was anything at all that you might have changed for the score, any certain play you could have changed to make it closer?


CB COBY BRYANT: Like I said, that’s pretty hard for me to answer. Like I said, I’m pretty much focused on my job. I try not to do other people’s jobs. It’s about the 1% that I do for the defense and just to be the leader. Every time we got off the sideline, I just told them, Keep going. Give me all you got. Give me 100% every play. Lay it out there for me, and I’m going to do the same. That’s 

kind of hard to answer, but I just try to be the best leader I can be for this team.


That answer is kind of “meh” for a journalist, but it was perfect for me. I noticed one thing he said.




That name is so unique that there has to be a reason for naming someone after Kobe Bryant. The name Kobe itself has the meaning of “God’s door”, or “God may protect”. Even if it’s a different spelling, you don’t name a boy Coby Bryant if you expect him to be a manager at Wal-Mart. The reputation of Kobe Bryant is pure unadulterated work ethic, play through unreal pain, and give the crowd what they want every single time out.


Coby Bryant did that. He gave over 100% in a game that the Bearcats were seriously outmatched, and the team did the same. As I said, they were undefeated for a reason. They played hard every minute, and because of that, who knows what happens if they pick up that fumble in the red zone? Teams like Cincy are why coaches like Nick Saban go for the kill every game. You never know.


As far as Coby Bryant goes, I will be paying attention to his career going forward. It is obvious he has the work ethic that this name entails. I don’t know how far he will make it, but I’m rooting for him.


I’m rooting for him because that name died too soon and needed to be reincarnated, even in a different spelling. A different generation needs to know what a work ethic is, what a never quit attitude is, and doing whatever it takes


Kobe’s sadly gone, but Coby would have made him proud last night.

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