TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Rashaan Evans couldn’t wait to tweet about Dylan Moses.
The Crimson Tide’s senior linebacker wanted his near 17 thousand followers to know how well Alabama’s freshman linebacker played in the team’s 56-0 win over Mercer on Saturday.
Dylan Moses 👀🔨
— Rashaan Evans (@616evans4) November 18, 2017
Evans only used the eye and hammer emojis, but the message was clear: Moses made a big splash in his first career start.
“I was just proud of him,” Evans said postgame. “Today was a great day for him to kind of showcase his skills. I believed in his skill set, and I felt like he showed it today.”
Starting at Mike linebacker, Moses had a game-high 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops, to go with 4 tackles for loss and an interception.
Senior safety Hootie Jones took it a step further when praising Moses’ efforts on Saturday.
“He played phenomenal,” Jones said. “I ain’t seen no freshman since I been here play like he played tonight.”
With Shaun Dion Hamilton going down against LSU, Alabama was forced to scramble at inside linebacker. Keith Holcombe earned the start next to Evans in Alabama’s nickel package, and was the first man up in the dime package against Mississippi State last week, while Moses rotated in.
This week, it was Moses’ turn. He was first up in the nickel package next to Evans, while also manning the “Mack” linebacker role, which is the lone inside linebacker in Alabama’s dime package.
“I think Dylan has got a lot more confidence,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think this last week was a little much for him, but this week, he was better in practice. He had a better understanding. We simplified things a little more. This was a little more easier preparation from that standpoint. I think the knowledge and experience that he gained out there today will help his development in the future. I know he had quite a few tackles, and was very active in the game. That’s going to be very important for us down the road.”
The biggest difference in Moses this week appeared to be his confidence level. He didn’t hesitate when shooting his gaps and executing his assignments, which is typically a sign of a player who is confident in what he’s doing.
Evans said Moses showed “he can play to the highest level.” Evans is proud of how Moses has developed throughout his freshman year.
Moses also appeared to be the signal caller at times, helping put others in position, including Evans.
“I felt like we wanted to emphasize that just in case something happens to me,” Evans said. “We wanted him to be able to run the defense as well, and I feel like he did a good job of that.”
Alabama plays at Auburn next Saturday. The winner of that game will earn the right to play Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Atlanta.