Alabama Football: Crimson Tide incurs devastating injury loss

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Alabama football has lost one of its two most irreplaceable players. Linebacker Dylan Moses reportedly suffered an ACL injury Tuesday and is out for the season.

Major injury news from Tuscaloosa casts a pall on the Alabama football season. Reportedly, Dylan Moses tore an ACL in practice Tuesday and is not expected to return this season.

Ask any Alabama football fan who the Crimson Tide could least afford to lose to injury. The two names given in response would repeatedly be Tua Tagovailoa and Dylan Moses. It could even be argued the Crimson Tide could win with a lesser talented quarterback than Tua. The Crimson Tide has so many offensive weapons, a game-managing Mac Jones might be enough.

The situation is very different at the thin inside linebacker roster. Losing Moses means losing the Tide’s alpha on defense, the play-caller for the defensive front and one of the best linebackers in the nation. No one else on the Crimson Tide roster comes close to having Moses’ attributes as the Mike linebacker.

Nick Saban said on Wednesday,

"Dylan was injured yesterday in practice. He had a knee injury. It requires surgery, so he’ll be out for an indefinite period of time. Certainly, this is a character check for our team, and we’re going to do everything we can to support Dylan and the people that have the opportunity now to fill in for Dylan."

Who will step in for Moses?

The guys listed behind Moses on the recent Alabama football depth chart are freshmen Shane Lee and sophomore Markail Benton. Benton might get the nod because the idea of the Alabama Crimson Tide starting two, true freshmen at inside linebacker seems inconceivable.

Based on spring training and fall camp, Shane Lee seems like the better choice. Lee is a future Crimson Tide star who should be more than adequate in run defense. Insiders question if he has adequate pass coverage skills at this point of his brief career. Benton or Ale Kaho both offer considerable athletic ability. There are questions of whether either has the full confidence of the Alabama football staff.

Comparing the three linebackers, Shane Lee seems to offer the most complete package of skills and the greatest opportunity to perform consistently.

Many Alabama football fans worry about any of these young men taking over the defensive, play-calling role of a Mike linebacker. That may not be necessary. The Crimson Tide staff could decide to have a safety relay the calls to an inside linebacker. Shyheim Carter, who knows the defense better than any other player is well-suited for the task.

Is it possible an outside linebacker, say, Chris Allen, could be moved to inside linebacker? Yes, a move could happen with Allen but doing it so close to a game is not a likely solution.

Crimson Tide defenses are led by linebackers. dark. Next

With Alabama football injuries and suspension, it is correct to say the Crimson Tide is limping into the season? No, the situation is ‘next man up.’