- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2020

Landon Dickerson plays multiple roles for Alabama.

While he is an anchor on the Crimson Tide’s powerful offensive line, he also is a somewhat of an entertainer. His animated antics are a hit with teammates and fans.

The personality of the center for the top-ranked Crimson Tide was on full display in a blowout win over LSU. Dickerson’s repertoire included his gotcha finger-pointing at defenders after offsides penalties to his backward flop, arms straight down his sides, when Tigers defensive tackle Neil Farrell Jr. bumped facemasks with him after a play.

The flop went viral on social media, an unusual amount of attention for an offensive linemen.

But Dickerson is an unusual sort of offensive lineman.

“I think the biggest thing is a lot of people can see this as a business, and it is really, it can be a business at times,” Dickerson said. “But I really think that I enjoy just football in every aspect when it comes to playing, being around teammates, just the camaraderie, anything that really goes with it.

“I enjoy every second of every day that I’m here and every day that I’m around my teammates and coaches and everybody here. It really just comes down to I enjoy what I do here, and I’m thankful.”

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Florida State transfer is far more than just entertaining. Dickerson is one of the six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy given to college football’s best interior lineman, along with Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood.

He’s the nation’s second-highest rated center by Pro Football Focus, behind Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum.

Tide players have won the Outland Trophy two of the last four years, with defensive tackle Quinnen Williams winning in 2018 and offensive tackle Cam Robinson winning in 2016. No Alabama center has won the award, though Barrett Jones was a finalist in 2012, a year after he won while playing offensive tackle.

Alabama coaches have credited Dickerson with allowing just one quarterback pressure and no sacks in 583 snaps. Next up for Dickerson and the Tide is a trip to Arkansas on Saturday.

“He’s got great leadership,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said recently. “He’s got a great personality. Plays with a lot of toughness. Really somebody that I think has made a tremendous impact on our team in a very positive way. Sets a great example in terms of his leadership.

“He’s smart, he makes a lot of line calls. I think he helps the guys around him play better. So it’s been a really, really positive thing all the way around.”

Dickerson isn’t a bad actor either, judging by his quick flop onto his back that he’s “heard quite a bit about.” It didn’t draw a flag, but not for lack of effort. Dickerson said it’s not a move he practices but he’s hardly apologizing for trying to get a penalty against the Tigers.

“It’s late contact after the play,” Dickerson said. “Usually, that can draw a penalty, but I think the refs may have saw it a little differently. It may go to review with the referees and stuff this week, but we’ll see what comes out of that.”

He also had takes on other aspects of his game.

-Taking pride in drawing defenders offsides: “I really just want to let the referees know that they’re offsides and get that 5 yards. So, if you do like I did and make it really well known that he was offsides, you’re almost guaranteed to get that flag.”

-Being good at getting under people’s skin: “I don’t know a great way to respond to that. I guess the best way to say this is everybody’s different, and different players get frustrated (by) different things in different situations. I like to think that I play a pretty consistent type of game, and for some players, that may get under their skin, for other guys, it doesn’t. It really depends on the individual that I’m playing against.”

Tide quarterback Mac Jones is a fan of both Dickerson’s blocking and his personality. He said the center is “a big part” of the line playing so well as a unit.

“And I’m just glad to have Landon,” Jones said. “He’s a great addition to our team. Makes everything fun during practice, and as you all see in the games, he obviously makes it fun, too.”


More AP college football coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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