Alabama Crimson Tide fall camp previews: Defensive line
Football is back in the air. Alabama is set to kick off its fall camp this week as it holds its first practice on Friday. Before the Crimson Tide returns to the field, BamaInsider will take a look at each of the position groups. We continue our series today by examining the defensive line.
Biggest question: Will D.J. Dale land the starting spot at nose guard?
Freshman D.J. Dale was perhaps Alabama’s biggest surprise from spring camp. The early enrollee defensive tackle broke into the first-team defense during the second scrimmage and retained his starting role throughout the remainder of camp. He tallied a sack on A-Day while helping to hold Alabama’s first-team offense to 13 rushing yards on 22 carries.
The question is, can Dale maintain that momentum heading into the fall? So far, the three-star defensive tackle appears to taking all the necessary steps to lock down the starting spot. Dale dropped 15 pounds over the summer, bringing him to 308 pounds — the same weight as former Crimson Tide defensive tackle Daron Payne, who the freshman drew comparisons to this spring.
“For a young guy, he plays like he’s been here for a while,” defensive lineman Raekwon Davis said. “He’s a great lineman. You can teach him quick. He came in good with his technique.”
If Dale does win the starting job, he will have giant shoes to fill as he replaces Quinnen Williams at nose guard. The Outland Trophy winner was selected by the New York Jets with the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft after leading Alabama with 19.5 tackles for a loss and 12 quarterback hurries last season. While those numbers will be tough for Dale to match this season, Williams isn’t putting anything past the freshman.
“I feel like he’s a great person to come in and learn the ropes, learn the process,” Williams said in January. “He’s a very humble person and he’s from where I’m from, so we’ve got that same trait, that same mindset, myself and him.”
How we expect Alabama to line up
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