Alabama Football News

Should UA feature Landon Dickerson at center with Owens ‘questionable’ this week?

Alabama center, Chris Owens (No. 79) blocking to the right of Tua Tagovailoa versus Mississippi: Photo comes via Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

He is starting to improve at the center position, but will he play this week? 

This is the question facing Chris Owens as the junior offensive lineman was listed as ‘questionable’ for the Texas A&M matchup, per Nick Saban on Monday. 

Owens, a native of Arlington, Texas, sustained a minor knee issue and is categorized as ‘day-to-day’ for practice and the game versus the Aggies.

The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder has cleared the way for one 100-yard rushing performance (Najee Harris) and a trio of 300-plus yard passing games for Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback.

Alabama’s rushing attack is getting better with Deonte Brown; however, there is a trio of players that can fill in for Owens – if he cannot play. 

RELATED: Alabama 2020 NFL Draft projections

Landon Dickerson is the first of the group. 

A native of Hickory, N.C., the once five-star and graduate transfer from Florida State can play at center, guard or tackle. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 308 pounds, he has shown nastiness as a run blocker and pass protector through five games. Dickerson is a fan favorite around the program and both his intelligence and experience in big games would be huge at the controls. 

Emil Ekiyor is back from a knee injury and he’s the second guy. 

The 6-foot-3, 327-pounder is very versatile as he played both center and guard with ease at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Ind.

A former four-star in the 2018 class, the redshirt freshman played in four games as a reserve last year.

He has played in 32 snaps through four matchups this season at center and guard. Coach Saban likes what Ekiyor brings to the table. 

Last, but not least, the Tide has Darrian Dalcourt. 

The true freshman from Maryland has the highest upside of the bunch. 

As a four-star from St. Frances Academy and one of the top players in the state, Dalcourt has been working as a backup center in all five games.

He was credited with blocks on explosive touchdown runs from Jerome Ford (Duke) and Keilan Robinson (New Mexico State). 

The 6-foot-3, 292-pounder has quickness, strong hands, athleticism and keen instincts, in terms of blocking assignments. Dickerson will get the nod if Owens cannot perform, but the depth Alabama has at center is needed. Should Dickerson slide to center, expect for Deonte Brown to start versus the Aggies at right guard.

The tandem of Najee Harris and Brian Robinson both averaged over five yards a carry against Mississippi in Brown’s return from suspension. 

According to Jedrick Wills in Monday’s interview, he said Brown really excels as a ‘pulling guard.’ 

“He’s a very physical guy,” Wills said of the junior.  

“We can run a lot more gap things with him, but he’s a dynamic player. He can run block on inside and outside zones and he can pass protect, so he is just another asset for us.” 

Alabama earned a 27-19 win in its most recent trip to Kyle Field in 2017. 

Former Tide running back, Damien Harris posted 124 yards rushing with one touchdown and Minkah Fitzpatrick sealed the game with a great play on special teams. 

Hopefully, the team will have Owens for this week but Dickerson is more than capable. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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