Alabama Football: A new ‘Will’ and new ‘RB3’ for unsettled Tide

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football needs a new running back 3 after losing Trey Sanders. Medical test results for Josh McMillon may show a need for a ‘Will’ LB.

Alabama football fans were in a dither Saturday night, worrying about the potential loss of Josh McMillon to a serious knee injury. McMillon is the career backup, fifth-year senior who was expected to line up at Will linebacker, next to Dylan Moses.

Part of the intrigue Saturday night included a claim the Alabama football staff had been planning for McMillon to call the signals for the Tide’s defensive front. Most Crimson Tide fans have expected the play-calling duties would be assumed by Dylan Moses.

There are definite plusses for Josh to be the play-caller. The coaches trust him. He is in his fifth season studying Nick Saban’s defense. Removing the play-calling burden from Moses would allow arguably the Tide’s best defensive athlete to attack with more freedom.

Now it may not happen. If McMillon has a serious injury, it is unlikely another, less experienced guy would be given the play-calling responsibility. Who are the candidates to win an open ‘Will’ slot? based on recent practices, Markail Benton appears to have the edge. Shane Lee and Jaylen Moody cannot be ruled out. Even Ale Kaho could get a shot. Later in the season, summer enrollee, Christian Harris might get into the mix.

There is plenty of talent in that list of names. None have the exceptional talent of Dylan Moses. And none have the experience of Josh McMillon.

The chatter late Saturday night is McMillon might just have a sprained knee, with no ligament damage. That would be great news to learn on Sunday.

One scrimmage does not make a season but reports are redshirt freshman running back, Jerome Ford was impressive Saturday. Even before the injury to Trey Sanders there has been quiet optimism about Ford. He will probably not ever be a workhorse running back, but more in the Josh Jacobs mode of dangerous in multiple ways.

The roster is solid behind Ford with true freshman, Keilan Robinson. Keilan is described as a change-of-pace back who can become a play-maker. He had some work done on a knee in the spring. There had been concern he might not be fully recovered. Recent insider reports suggest he has fully healthy.

If needed, now wide receiver, Chadarius Townsend can always be moved back to running back.

Next. Big Improvement coming by Tide Secondary. dark

So many injury concerns so early are unsettling. The old football axiom is playing to not get hurt causes more injuries than any other reason. That is not a factor for Nick Saban’s Tide. Always going hard is part of the DNA.