After Alabama’s first football scrimmage of spring practice Saturday, coach Nick Saban called out the inside linebackers. Excluding Dylan Moses, that is. He said the group made too many mental mistakes. He also challenged them to improve, saying they had “lots of work to do.”
That’s just what they’ve done this week in practice.
“We got a lot of young players there, and that’s kind of what I was referring to that I think those guys have been a little more consistent this week in practice,” Saban said.
Building consistency will be key for the unit, especially since it is such an inexperienced group. Moses is the only returning inside linebacker to have started a game for the Crimson Tide.
Besides Moses, who saw the field extensively as a freshman and played in all 15 games last season, Joshua McMillon has the most experience. The redshirt senior played in 10 games last year, recording 10 tackles as a backup.
McMillon has been going through practice drills next to Moses and, given his knowledge of the defense, may be in the best position to start next to him in the fall. He’s already distinguished himself as a leader in the film room, according to Moses.
“He’s a really good type of player,” Moses said. “He does his job and leads. Kind of like me, he’s not really that talkative. I could say we have a lot in common. For me and him to be in the same room now and leading it, I feel comfortable being beside him and going out on the field and doing it.”
Alabama A-Day Game
When: 1 p.m., Saturday, April 13
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium
Regardless of whether McMillon earns the other starting inside linebacker spot, Saban emphasized the younger players need to develop to give Alabama much-needed depth.
Redshirt sophomore Markail Benton earned playing time in the rotation last season, making 14 tackles. Sophomores Jaylen Moody and Ale Kaho both made big plays on special teams their first year, but played sparingly at linebacker. Early enrollee Shane Lee has been on campus for just a few months.
With the improvement that the inside linebackers have made this week, Saban is interested to see how they perform in the Crimson Tide’s second scrimmage of the spring, which takes place this Saturday.
“Maybe next time they don’t have as much anxiety, they can stay a little more focused and try to do things the way that we had taught to do them rather than just trying to survive,” Saban said. “So, I think we made some improvement in that area this week.”