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Landon Dickerson can play multiple positions across Alabama offensive front
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Landon Dickerson can play multiple positions across Alabama offensive front

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Alabama football FOR CENTERPIECE

Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson has shown versatility across the front.

TUSCALOOSA — Landon Dickerson doesn’t know what happened to the front bumper on his truck. He can’t even remember if it happened while it was being serviced or being towed. What mattered was the result — a bumper that was hanging off the front of his black pickup, one he deemed hazardous.

His solution drew the attention of his teammate, Alabama running back Najee Harris, who posted a picture of it on Instagram with jokes at Dickerson’s expense. Dickerson’s truck has a huge block of wood where a bumper would normally be.

“To be safe to me and other drivers, I decided to take it off because it was a hazard and the railroad tie was a cost-effective method to keep some sort of bumperesque device on the front of my truck,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson fancies problem-solving in his free time, including auto maintenance. It’s fitting, considering he is the problem-solver of Alabama’s offensive line.

Dickerson’s positional flexibility makes him a valuable part of UA’s offensive line. He starts at center but has played guard and tackle. Two games ago when guard Deonte Brown suffered a minor shoulder injury, Dickerson filled in for him. If any other stop-gaps are needed, Dickerson is the man for the job.

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“He’s been a really good leader of that group. He does extremely well when he plays center,” UA coach Nick Saban said. “He’s played extremely well, and when we’ve asked him to play guard, he’s played very well there.”

Part of that role is created by UA’s extensive offensive line depth. Chris Owens and Darrian Dalcourt are solid centers, and Owens can play tackle if needed. Tommy Brown and Pierce Quick can play guard and tackle, in addition to Amari Kight and Javion Cohen at tackle. None have starting roles, giving UA more than enough options at all five positions to find a capable replacement.

It allows UA to create a hierarchy of its backup and reserve offensive linemen, allowing it to get its best healthy five on the field regardless of position. In the case of Brown’s injury, UA saw Owens as a better option than any of its backup guards. So it inserted Owens at center and moved Dickerson to the position of need.

The ability to play multiple positions is one thing that made Dickerson attractive to UA when he transferred from Florida State before last season. Since enrolling Dickerson, they have found he means much more than the luxury of personnel options.

“He does a great job out there leading practice when we don’t have any juice,” quarterback Mac Jones said. “He kind of makes football fun. Sometimes when you get into these long days, it’s like, we have this, we have that.

"But Landon always has a positive attitude and obviously he’s a great player. You can see that on the field. He’s constantly knocking people down. Our whole offensive line feeds off that.”

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