Alabama Football: How much the loss of Landon Dickerson matters

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football: Sadness for Landon Dickerson mixed with anxiety over how much his injury will affect the Crimson Tide.

Alabama football lost an emotional leader in the Florida game. It is fair to argue the Tide lost its top motivational leader with the knee injury to Landon Dickerson. Sunday news from Tuscaloosa is Dickerson tore one or more ligaments in his knee. He has played his last Crimson Tide game.

Let’s be honest. Landon Dickerson cannot be replaced with a player of equal caliber. No one on the Alabama Crimson Tide roster can equal his contribution. As great as DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris are, their loss by injury could be better filled than the loss of Dickerson.

It has been a long time since ‘next man up’ had so much meaning in Tuscaloosa. Kyle Flood and Nick Saban have three options to replace Dickerson. The most experienced choice and the one expected to be chosen is Chris Owens. As a 4-Star recruit in the 2016 class, Owens was the No. 10 rated Offensive Guard.

Chris Owens is a smart player who can play center, guard or tackle. Owens also played some tight end last season. The redshirt senior is respected by his Alabama football teammates and the Crimson Tide staff. In a quieter way, he too is a team leader. The other guys upfront will rally around him.

Owens will provide mental and emotional stability to the Dickerson void. Physically, he is not the dominating run-blocker Dickerson has been. Also, with him at center, the Crimson Tide might be more vulnerable to the pocket being pushed into Mac Jones.

Will the Alabama football run schemes change without Dickerson? They will not drastically change but Kyle Flood will do some tweaking. Flood also has other personnel options. Next in the Crimson Tide depth chart is sophomore Darrian Dalcourt. Dalcourt played 69 snaps last season but has been used less frequently this year. He too, was a 4-Star recruit, coming out of the St. Frances Academy in Maryland. In August, we suggested both Dalcourt and Emil Ekiyor had good chances to break into the starting lineup.

Flood and Nick Saban have one more option. It is the least likely possibility. Third-year sophomore, Emil Ekiyor can play center. In his 2018 redshirt season, his Crimson Tide career path included guard and center. Moving him from right guard is impractical given he has played so well at guard this season. Moving Ekiyor and creating two personnel changes on the offensive line does not make much sense.

Next. Takeaways from SEC Championship. dark

While considering injuries, the odds of Jaylen Waddle being available for a National Championship game are improving. If cleared medically, it is obvious Waddle wants to play for the Tide at least one more time.