When Jamey Mosley enrolled at Alabama as a freshman out of Theodore High School in 2014, he weighed 188 pounds. At 6-foot-5. In other words, he was a bean pole.
Needless to say, he knew he had to gain weight if he ever hoped to step on the field during a game inside Bryant-Denny Stadium as an outside linebacker.
He did both things Saturday afternoon.
Mosley, now up to 250 pounds, earned his first career start, registering two tackles, the first two tackles of his career.
Mosley was one of several linebackers to earn extensive playing time with UA losing four linebackers during the Florida State game in the season-opener. With Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller out for the season, and Rashaan Evans and Anfernee Jennings sidelined for an undisclosed amount of time, Mosley, Keith Holcombe, Mack Wilson, Christopher Allen and Dylan Moses played meaningful snaps with the first-team defense.
The defense primarily played in nickel, and Mosley put his hand down and rushed. In nickel, Shaun Dion Hamilton was a constant with Holcombe and Wilson rotating series in the middle. Allen spelled Mosley at times and Moses earned some pass-rushing opportunities in the Dime defense.
Mosley got some game-day advice from his older brother, former UA All-American C.J. Mosley, but he was ready for his opportunity.
“I treated it like a normal week,” Mosley said. “If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready. There’s always room to improve. I feel like I did decent.”
In his fourth season in the program, Mosley didn’t press. He never got down when he didn’t play. Instead, he followed his brother’s advice. Keep working.
“It wasn’t tough at all,” he said. “Any blessing comes with a burden. I was just ready for the opportunity that I got.”
It wasn’t all positive for the newcomers, though, and, really, for the defense as a whole.
UA failed to sustain a pass rush and was exposed on the screen pass. Defensive lineman Johnny Dwight recorded the only sack of the game and the team was credited with three pass rushes (one each for Allen, Hamilton and Raekwon Davis).
Nick Saban saw some good things from his inexperienced backers, but he also saw growth opportunities.
“We obviously have a lot of work to do at that position,” Saban said. “I think some things that maybe the fan doesn’t notice is a guy doesn’t retrace on a screen. That’s part of stopping screens. Guys don’t retrace on a quarterback draw. That’s part of being a good pass is knowing when a guy is setting for a screen and when he’s setting for a draw, when he’s pass setting.
“These things are all things we need to improve on so that we can play those particular plays better. I think the experience that the guys got today will certainly be beneficial to them. Hard to evaluate exactly how they played. They got the ball out really quick on almost all the passes, they were short 5-yard passes, so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to get a lot of pressure on the guy.”
Reach Aaron Suttles at email@example.com or at 205-722-0229.