There’s no doubt that the Alabama football team, with unquestioned leader Nick Saban, carries a certain mental fortitude into every game.
But underlying that business-like exterior is a pastime as old as sport itself — wrestling. Senior defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson told the SEC Network in an interview on Monday that the team partakes in frequent wrestling matches in the locker room and that Tomlinson himself is the undisputed leader, having yet to lose a match.
It should come as no surprise that Tomlinson dominates the locker room bouts. He was a state champion wrestler in the 285-pound division at Henry County High School in McDonough, Ga. Tomlinson only wrestles others in his weight class, which still leaves him plenty of competition. Of the guys he’s wrestled, seniors Korren Kirvin and Dakota Ball have given him the biggest challenge.
“With Dakota it was pretty close because he doesn’t get tired,” Tomlinson told the SEC Network. “He’s just one of those type of people.”
Crimson Tide fans shouldn’t worry too much about the extracurricular activity in the locker room, though. Tomlinson said that they have the support of the coaching staff because they’re responsible with their matches.
“I don’t think they’re too worried about it because they know we’re capable and mature enough to know when to stop,” Tomlinson said.
If anything, the team might even get a benefit from the occasional roughhousing. Tomlinson said that his wrestling career helped him learn how to get leverage, a great benefit when it comes to beating offensive linemen off the snap.
Alabama hosts Mississippi State in a noon kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.