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Jumbo Package: Saban confirms Dylan Moses ACL injury; next man up for Alabama linebacking corps

Once more into the breach with a season-ending injury

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Alabama v Mississippi

Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

This has become a far too familiar scene the past few years — another season-ending injury on defense. This time the afflicted is Dylan Moses, the Tide’s starting Mike linebacker. Moses was having a great offseason and fall camp. He was ready to be a leader of a defense licking its wounds. He was going into this season a first-round projection, with each play and every game making him potentially richer.

Then, on the Tide’s third practice of the regular season, he suffered an ACL tear. He is listed as “out indefinitely,” but that is a season-ender. You feel for him: He almost certainly won’t be back as a RS Jr. next year — and why would he? — and he almost certainly will take a draft hit coming off a knee (insert Skyrim joke here.)

Nick Saban addressed the injury yesterday with some interesting points about the risk-reward of practicing. He’s seen far too many season-ending injuries during practice, but at the same time he know it is the only way to improve.

What does that mean for Alabama? Well, Christian Harris is already penciled in at one spot. Shane Lee will likely get the nod at the other spot. The Tide’s depth at the position, already-perilously thin, is shot though. Players like Jaylen Moody and Markail Benton will need to step up.

“Next man up” should replace “Trust The Process” at this point.

Speaking of, I have a radical idea to mitigate the loss, however. Perhaps Alabama could go to the 4-2-5 as its base defense? An attacking 4-2-5 was the defense Pete Golding ran as UTSA’s defensive coordinator. It’s a little thin on run-stuffing, but in a pass-first era it definitely takes advantage of the Tide’s 2019 strengths: deep defensive line and outstanding secondary. (For more info, check out this Q&A we did with the Roadrunner beat guys when Coach Pete was hired.)

Three things are certain regarding the injury fallout though. 1. Alabama will start two true freshmen — Saban confirmed that yesterday; 2. Whomever is at Mike will be calling the plays — we saw how that worked out when even uber-genius Minkah Fitzpatrick had to quarterback the defense. The equally injured linebackers were a hot mess in 2017; and, 3. The defensive line must step up. Fortunately, there are a lot of guys up front making an impression early.

On how the defensive line responded to his challenge

”They’ve been really good. I’ve been pleased with, you know Raekwon’s had a great camp. He’s really played well. A couple of the young guys. DJ Dale has done really well. LaBryan Ray is doing really well. We have some of these young guys, Justin was doing really well and got his foot hurt. But I don’t think that’s a long-term thing. Those guys have done really well. They’ve responded well.”

Saban’s complete press conference is here.

Rodney Orr of TiderInsider has his preview of the Duke game up, if you want to check that out. And of course you do.

LSU threw some serious shade at Coach Nick Saban yesterday, with new AD Scott Woodward first praising him, then essentially saying that Saban was both stupid and the he regrets leaving Tigerland.

Uhhhh. Sure thing, hoss. Why don’t you just go ahead and pencil in your 9 wins and book tickets to the Peach Bowl. Nothing is worse than letting the kid have a seat at the grownup table and then they throw a tantrum.

What kind of impact does winning some football games have? A raft load. The effect wasn’t unique to Alabama either. In the past four years, Clemson’s applications have risen 71%, and mostly from out-of-state applicants (just like Alabama’s bump that began a decade ago).
I’ve said this a thousand times over, but even factoring in the $100 million or so Saban has earned at the Capstone, he’s still underpaid. Grossly. He has literally meant billions to this state and university.

Psssst. Basketball tickets went on sale yesterday. TIME TO DO THIS THING! As always, you can phone 205-348-3592 if you want to talk to a real human and get an idea of the sight lines.

Be damned safe down there, Gulf Coast. So far no games have been rearranged for Hurrican Dorian, notably the Boise State-FSU tilt. But it is expected to come screaming across Florida Sunday night as a Category 3, with the potential to become a catastrophic Cat 5 if it crosses the peninsula and hits the super-heated waters of the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Follow your precautions, heed the evacuations, and keep everyone updated on your safety. We’ll be thinking about you.

We’re pretty certain Jerome Ford is going to be the third back. But, man, don’t overlook freshman Keilan Robinson. Somewhat overshadowed by Trey Sanders signing, Saban has nothing but praise for the diminutive quarkback.

Who remembers the MAT or the analogies you took on your (p)SATs? Read Saban’s comments then complete this one below in the comments
Jeudy : ______ :: Najee : _____.

So, we could potentially see true freshman Keilan Robinson early in the season opener against Duke. The 5-foot-9, 184-pound tailback is a different player than the rest of Alabama’s backs.

“Keilan has got juice,” Nick Saban said. “He’s quick, he’s fast, very explosive on the perimeter. So, he kind of gives us a kind of different type guy from the other guys that we have, which I think is important at that position. So, I hope we get him a chance to have some opportunities in this game.”

There’s been a lot of gloom and doom here. Sorry, it’s not our fault; we just report it. So, we leave you with this to get your day off to a better start and put a smile on your face.

We’ll be back later with previews, Q&A’s, and a host of other stuff. And, don’t forget, we have a FULL SLATE OF FOOTBALL TONIGHT! Of course, I’ll have your preview of those and a live thread this evening.

If you want some gambling tips, they’re here.
If you’ve not signed up for this year’s pick’em contest, you have until about 4:00 central today. HURRY.
If you want to share the story of your Alabama fandom, do that here.
If you want to vent about injuries and suspensions, we’re swinging cacti all this week.
In case you missed this year’s graphical depth chart and jersey numbers/positions, reader Jay Reynolds again has squared us away. Big thanks for this.