Alabama DT DJ Dale on Mac Jones: "He Lights a Fire Under the Offense"

Tyler Martin

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — With redshirt-junior quarterback Mac Jones appearing set to start next Saturday in the University of Alabama's season-opener against Missouri, you get the feeling from Crimson Tide players and coaches, that his leadership and play on the field, have taken steps to the next level during fall camp.  

Crimson Tide defensive tackle DJ Dale has to faces him everyday in practice and he shared some good perspective on just how well the offense can perform with Jones at the helm this season. 

"He’s a great player, he’s a great leader," Dale said on Thursday afternoon in a Zoom meeting with the media. "You can see he lights a fire under that offense. Everything’s came together."

Jones, who has started four games in his Alabama career, threw for 1,503 yards, 14 touchdowns, and only three interceptions, while completing 68 percent of his passes a year ago. 

With weapons like DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle on the outside, and a stable of running backs like Najee Harris, Brian Robinson Jr., and Trey Sanders, and a full slate of games, Jones is well suited to improve on those numbers in 2020.

Crimson Tide offensive lineman Landon Dickerson made his first appearance with the media on Thursday, and he echoed what Dale said, that Jones has command of group and every situation.

"I think the biggest thing is no matter who is in at quarterback, they have to be able to control the situation," Dickerson said. "Whether it is the game situation or the team, whoever is in at that point. And I feel very confident Mac does that every day in practice. So do the other quarterbacks. They do it extremely well. They are very poised, and they have a plan."

Alabama coach Nick Saban believes the Jacksonville, Fla. native has matured and developed the ability to put his mistakes behind him and focus on the next play, at a high level.

"Mac has done very nicely," Saban said on Wednesday evening. "He had a very good scrimmage on Saturday. I think when Mac stays in himself and is concerned about doing what he’s supposed to do and executes and does the things that he’s coached to do, he’s very, very effective. When he stays focused on the play, doesn’t get upset about what happened on the play before, he’s very, very effective. He has shown an ability to do that much better this year. 

"I think it’s a sign of maturity and understanding what he has to do to play winning football at his position."

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