Alabama football notes: Defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson to undergo knee surgery

Anniston StarSeptember 5, 2013 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson injured his knee during Wednesday's practice and will need surgery, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said.

Tomlinson, a redshirt freshman, had four tackles in the Tide's season opener against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

"Dalvin Tomlinson sustained a knee injury in practice yesterday that requires surgery," Saban said. "I'm not going to comment on what the issue is. They'll know for sure when they do the surgery and we'll let you know what the outcome of the surgery is when they do it."

Tomlinson was expected to bolster the Tide's pass rush. No timetable has been set for his return.

Don James

After finishing his Thursday news conference, Nick Saban turned to exit the Naylor Stone Media Room before returning to the podium.

Don James, Saban's college coach at Kent State, underwent two surgeries for at a Seattle hospital for gastrointestinal issues.

"I know this is probably not of interest to many people. There's a couple of coaches that I've had ... you often ask me about mentors," Saban said. "My high school coach passed away in the last year or so. Heard today that Don James, my college coach who I'm very close to who really is a great mentor to me, is in the hospital. I'd just like to take this opportunity to publicly say to him and his family that our thoughts and prayers are with him. Hope he feels better and can't tell him how much we appreciate all that he's done for us and our career. So, thanks."

Saban credits James with giving him his start as a coach. James offered Saban a graduate assistant coaching position on the 1973 Kent State team.

Crowd noise

Texas A&M is known for having a raucous crowd for home games. The Aggie fans have been dubbed the 12th and Kyle Field may reach new decibels when the Crimson Tide travels to College Station. Saban says the team will be prepared.

"We always have a day or two where we practice with crowd noise, whether it's inside or outside," Saban said. "Players have to operate where they can't communicate by talking. We always do that when we play on the road. Some places are more difficult to play than others. Players just have to have a lot of poise."

Playing in the Southeastern Conference, Alabama is no stranger to fire breathing crowds.

"We've played in a lot of difficult places," Saban said. "Most of the time the guy that gets affected is the quarterback. The atmosphere at Penn State, LSU, some of the other places we played we've been able to operate in. That experience helps a lot."

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