His list of things to worry about on Saturday include handling a large and active Texas Longhorn defensive front and staying hydrated in the middle of a toasty day in Texas.
Oh yeah, Darrian Dalcourt also must worry about being heard by his teammates above the noise created by over 100,000 fans at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium.
“As the center, I’m the one making the calls,” Dalcourt said. “It rests a lot on my shoulders to get the offensive line in checks, to be able to communicate what we should be doing as a unit at that time. I would say my preparation is to be vocal, to be loud and be as commanding as I can for my group.”
As he learned last year at Florida, a trip to the grocery store this week might be a good idea to prepare for what will come afterward.
“Sometimes your throat does get a little sore,” Dalcourt said. “Tea and some honey can fix it. Sometimes you got to scream, but it’s worth it to get communication to the offense.”
Dalcourt, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound senior from Maryland, started the 2022 season by being named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance in a win over Utah State.
“It was a great honor to win that award,” Dalcourt said. “Obviously, there’s some things I can work on where I can get better at it.”
He also faces a much stiffer challenge this week against a Texas front that features 6-foot-2, 344-pound Keondre Coburn on the inside and 6-foot-4, 258-pound Barryn Sorrell on the edge. Coburn, who will make his 34th college start, had a sack in the opening game win over Louisiana-Monroe while Sorrell had 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
“From the game they played last week, you can see they have a high motor and have real big size,” Dalcourt said. “That’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
With the 11 a.m. kickoff and the Texas heat, staying fresh will also be challenging. Temperatures are expected to peak at 95 degrees on a sunny Saturday in Austin. Alabama head coach Nick Saban said his team will be prepared for the heat.
“We do just about everything we can,” Saban said. “We give guys hydration tests to tell them on a daily basis, are they fully hydrated, do they need to be hydrated. We use IVs for some guys that have really bad problems in terms of how much they sweat. It’s 90 degrees here every day, so we’re managing this every day. It’s not something that’s new for us to have to deal with. I do think part of preparation is what you do off the field.”
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