Alabama had a linebacker problem in 2017. Not a problem with the guys playing linebacker, but problems in keeping them healthy.
The Crimson Tide’s attrition at the position last season was the legendary, but not in a good way. Seemingly each week a different linebacker went on the injured list.
That problem gave players who otherwise might not have received as many meaningful snaps chances that will payoff this season. Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses — both of whom also were injured last season — enter this spring with the most experience at inside linebacker. Keith Holcombe isn’t participating during spring practice, opting to play baseball for UA instead.
Behind them are inexperienced players in Markail Benton, Joshua McMillon, VanDarius Cowan and Ben Davis.
How well have Wilson and Moses come along this spring?
“I think both of those guys have really good ability,” UA coach Nick Saban said. “I think the same old theme, because it’s a theme with me and the team, is their consistency in terms of the mental energy and intensity and leadership that they show on a consistent basis. They do it at times, but it’s a little up and down. We have to strive for that with those guys, too.
“I think that’s really important because I think when they’re vocal and make calls, it really impacts and effects all the other guys on the defense and helps them play better. I think that comes from confidence. I think the more they play, the more confident they’ll get. Because we look at them as guys that are starters. … Both of them started a couple games last year because of injuries, and then they got injured themselves. They weren’t able to play as much as they could have played and would have played. I think to get them the confidence that they can get out there and run things with confidence is going to be something that we need to do on a consistent basis.”