Dylan Moses answers the call in wake of injuries to Alabama linebackersBy Joe Klingbeil | 11/08/2017 7:31pm
He burst off the line of scrimmage like a bullet out of a gun. He ran straight through the LSU offensive line. As he threw down Tiger quarterback Danny Etling for a sack, he turned to the crimson-colored crowd and threw the punch that knocked LSU out late in the fourth quarter of Alabama’s 24-10 win.
His number was called that game, and Dylan Moses answered.
“Dylan made a lot of progress throughout the season,” head coach Nick Saban said. “I think he has a lot better understanding of what to do and how to do it. He would be the next guy up for us to get ready to play at that position.”
The freshman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana got the chance to show off the skillset that fashioned him into one of the most sought-after recruits in the country a year ago. Although it manifested into a movie-like script that he will never forget, Moses was not thrown into action because Alabama wanted the former LSU commit to rack up his first career sack against the Bayou Bengals. He was the next man in line and stepped up when his opportunity arrived.
The dreaded injury bug has hit the Alabama linebackers about as hard as it possibly could this season.
Terrell Lewis, Christian Miller, Anfernee Jennings and Rashaan Evans were victims in the season opener, with Jennings and Evans fortunate enough to recover. Last week, Mack Wilson and senior leader Shaun Dion Hamilton both went down and were forced to the locker room with injuries. Wilson suffered a foot injury that will sideline him for at least the rest of the regular season, while Hamilton suffered a season-ending knee injury – his second in as many years.
There really is not any way to replace the void Hamilton and company leave, but Saban and the Crimson Tide are not worried about what-could-have-beens. Instead, they are focusing on the next man up.
“Dylan [Moses], Keith [Holcombe], shoot, Markail [Benton], Ben [Davis], all of those guys. I think they can step up at any time,” Evans said. “I feel like that’s the reason why we recruit some of the best athletes in the country. So, whoever it is that steps up, man, they’ll be ready.”
After rotating in and out of the lineup for most of the season, Moses was thrusted into action against the Tigers after the injury to Hamilton. Moses finished the night with two tackles and 1.5 sacks.
As far as practice repetitions go, there is no shortage of them for the young linebackers core. Former five-star recruits such as Moses, Benton, Davis, Joshua McMillan and VanDarius Cowan all could be seeing action in the coming weeks. The group is littered with talent, but experience plays a vital role when the schedule hits the heart of conference play.
“They just have to get more comfortable. They're going to be asked to do a little bit more,” Holcombe said. “But all the coaches have all the confidence in them or they wouldn't be here. Everybody on this team, this organization has confidence in all these young guys and we're looking forward to see what they could do.”