Dickson and Hubbard working to improve on pass rush
The Crimson Tide’s two primary exterior linebackers are new names and new faces to much of the college football world. Sophomore Xzavier Dickson and junior Adrian Hubbard are replacing some of the most talented linebackers Alabama has had on the edge in a long time. The task of filling the massive shoes of the linebackers that have moved on is not an easy one, but Dickson and Hubbard have done a good job thus far in 2012.
Hubbard is fifth on the team in total tackles with nine solo tacked and one assisted tackle. Dickson has five tackles, including a sack during the Tide’s young 2012 campaign. While the quantitative impact the two linebackers have had on the defense may not be large yet, each player’s ability to get pressure on the quarterback has been a vital component of the Alabama defense. And there’s still room for improvement.
“I think we can get better at getting more sacks and getting to the quarterback,” Dickson said on Wednesday. “We just have to work hard in practice and execute and do our assignments the right way.”
On the field, Hubbard and Dickson are two different players. One a 6-foot-6, massive and quick linebacker, the other a slimmer, 6-foot-3 linebacker with a different skill set. Despite the differences, that doesn’t stop the two from working hard to push each other to be better at their respective crafts.
“We just compete. Who can get to the quarterback first,” said Dickson. “Competition can make each other better.”
“We’re happy for each other when we make plays,” added Hubbard.
Spending so much time as a unit during fall camp, workouts and practice provides a unique opportunity to bond as friends and as teammates. Hubbard and Dickson, not only together on the field, have become close friends off the field during their time together at Alabama.
“I kind of mentored [Dickson] when he first got here, just tried to show him the ropes,” Hubbard said. “He was a highly talented freshman, and high profile, and just kind of humbled him.
“This is football in the SEC, you have to work hard and you have to do everything by the rules because around here, Alabama is assignment football and you have to do your best at all times because there’s someone waiting behind you to take your spot.”
Alabama keeping an eye on helmet-to-helmet emphasis
The NCAA has continued to put an emphasis on protecting defenseless players for the past few seasons. This year, helmet-to-helmet hits are a hot topic as a number of players throughout the nation have been penalized and suspended for leading with the head or making contact with another player’s helmet, including a few players in the Southeastern Conference.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban noted during Wednesday’s press conference that the coaching staff and his team understands the risk of helmet-to-helmet hits as well as the consequences that follow if you commit the penalty.
“Hitting someone in the head or leading with your head, either way, no matter what you hit him with, are going to be things that we just can’t tolerate. That’s in the interest of player safety,” Saban said. “And I think that when you have these issues everybody needs to be aware that there is going to be an emphasis on things that can protect the players in that regard. So it’s [the suspensions] not a surprise to me.”
About The Author
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.