He has concerns about the tight end position – despite players having a good spring – however, inside linebacker is the spot for Alabama football that has Nick Saban really anxious.
The good news is having Dylan Moses back as a junior.
Hailing from Baton Rouge, La., the former five-star led the Crimson Tide in tackles (86) last season and posted 10 stops for loss with 2.5 sacks. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award and according to fans, he should have been calling the defense instead of Lyndell “Mack” Wilson.
While he carries an array of talents, Moses is in a program where the success at linebacker has come in pairs. In the 2000s era, Tide supporters have seen DeMeco Ryans and Freddie Roach, Rolando McClain and Eryk Anders, Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster, Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton, and the trio of Hamilton, Wilson and Rashaan Evans.
Prior to this, it was a trio of ‘backers that helped William “Bill” Curry survive the 1980s in being Alabama’s head football coach. After the tandem of Cornelius Bennett and Derrick Thomas terrorized the college game, Thomas teamed up with Keith McCants and kept the pressure on.
Knowing that Moses cannot do it alone, Joshua McMillon is a player Saban wants to see emerge and help out. The redshirt senior from Memphis, Tenn., arrived at the University of Alabama in 2015 as No. 171 on the ESPN 300 and the site’s No. 5 inside linebacker in the recruiting cycle.
He redshirted his freshman year and has 19 career tackles – including 14 in 2018.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, McMillon has full knowledge of the playbook and while he may not be as explosive as other guys – Brandon Kaho and Jaylen Moody – his experience, size and hardworking mentality will go a long way in the Tide pushing for a national championship.
“He has always been a great program guy and a great team guy,” Saban said of McMillon on Thursday. “He’s got more confidence and better understanding of what we expect him to do and Josh has done a nice job.”
One way to prove assurance in running this defense is to show consistency in front of at least 80,000 people inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
This is the goal in mind for McMillon as he anticipates being something bigger than just a plug ‘n’ play guy.
He has an opportunity to provide Saban with a positive answer on Saturday and a loud crowd will expect nothing less.
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