TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When the dust eventually settles from this crazy 2020 college football season filled with its ups and downs, one of the things that will be remembered most by both Alabama football fans and the media will be the dominating offensive line of Alabama football.
However, this past weekend the Crimson Tide experienced one of its down moments.
In the fourth quarter of Saturday’s SEC Championship Game against Florida, the offensive line lost its heart and soul when redshirt-senior center Landon Dickerson was carted off the field with a knee injury.
While Dickerson was able to rejoin his team as it celebrated its 52-46 SEC title victory, the feeling that he would not return to field this season was still ever-present. The next morning it was announced that an MRI revealed that Dickerson had sustained ligament damage in his left knee, sidelining him for Alabama’s upcoming appearance in the College Football Playoff.
On Tuesday during their availability with the media, both redshirt-junior quarterback Mac Jones and senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith — both of whom are Heisman Trophy contenders — commented on the significant loss that Dickerson’s absence will be for the team.
“It’s a big loss,” Smith said. “Just with one of the leaders on our team, leader on our offense. The one who gets the front moving, gets everything going. So it’s a big loss. It was tough when it happened but everybody came out there and told him that they loved him and that we were going to do this for him. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
On Tuesday morning it was announced that Dickerson was the co-winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy along with teammate senior tackle Alex Leatherwood. Along with the honor, Dickerson was also announced to be a finalist for the Dave Rimington Trophy, an award given annually to the best center in college football.
However, while his on-the-field prowess is indeed worthy of recognition, it is the heart and soul that Dickerson brings to his offense that will most likely be the most missed by his teammates.
Over the course of the 2020 season, Dickerson has provided many humorous moments that quickly made him a fan-favorite. Against LSU, it was his Oscar-worthy flopping antics and frantically pointing at Tigers defensive linemen that jumped offsides.
Against Arkansas and Florida, it was once again his fast-moving index fingers that once again made his teammates and fan base laugh.
Antics aside, Dickerson’s ability as a leader on the offense will be sorely missed. Dickerson has provided the most consistent performance at the position in quite some time. His leadership and skills as a pass blocker and ability to create holes for his running backs have elevated the play for Jones, senior running back Najee Harris and Smith.
On Tuesday, Jones stated that the loss of Dickerson hurt him.
“That hurt really bad, honestly,” Jones said. “Landon is one of my best friends, and if Landon is going to stay on the ground then you know something’s wrong. He tried to get up, but I think our trainers were like ‘Stay down, stay down.’
“It just goes to show, that guy will put his whole life on the line for Alabama football, and if he could he’d play as soon as he can for us because he just wants to be back, but obviously the injuries are the injuries.”
Upon Dickerson’s injury on the field and his assistance getting up onto the medical cart, his teammates — the entire team, not just his brothers on the offensive line — jogged out onto the field to wish him well.
That alone speaks volumes to how much the lighthearted lineman means to his team.
For Jones, while he will miss his teammate and friend, he said that it was sad to see his injury he knows that ultimately he will be just fine.
“I mean it sucked to see that, but you saw just in that little moment there with our whole team kind of going out and just saying ‘We’re with you man, prayers up,’” Jones said. “It’s definitely devastating to lose him, but at the same time he brought a whole other energy to our offense, and we just got to carry that on.
“I’m sure right when Landon comes back, he’s going to be leading just the same way as he was. Obviously, it’s a big [loss] but we just have to pick up for Landon and try to bring back a national championship for him.”