Dallas Ready to Turn it Up
One of the nation's top sack artists, Dallas Turner is likely NFL-bound after this Alabama football season. He wants to extend that season by beating Michigan. He talked about Michigan and more Friday in L.A. at the Rose Bowl presser. Here is a look:
Q. What did you first think of Michigan when you heard the matchup?
DALLAS TURNER: I knew they were a good team, that it was going to be a fun game to play in, especially in the Rose Bowl and stuff. Just blessed to be here. Just blessed to have the opportunity just knowing that a lot of people counted us out at the beginning of the season. It’s how we play football.
Q. When you look at the Michigan offense, what do you see?
DALLAS TURNER: I see a group of guys that work very well together. You know how they scheme up their offense, their run game and how they approach offensively, and just the offensive scheme that they have, you can tell that that team is very “cream of the crop” in what they do.
Q. (Indiscernible) they had to reshuffle their offensive line. Have you noticed much of a difference between what you saw in the last four, five quarters or whatever it was?
DALLAS TURNER: He is a very good guard, but from what I’ve seen on film and stuff like that, they shuffle a lot of guys around. I will say that. Just seeing how versatile a lot of their O-linemen are, it’s something that you have to pay attention to because you never know. We don’t even know who is going to start this week. You just have to be prepared for everybody.
Q. Coach is 72 years old.
DALLAS TURNER: I got some old people in my family too. I know how it is and how you have to approach them and how you have to talk to them and stuff like that. I feel like me and Coach Saban have a really great relationship. He jokes around just like us. He is just a little older. It’s a very good relationship between me and him.
Q. Over the years he has really adapted Xs and Os and how to connect to players. Have you seen that even in your time there?
DALLAS TURNER: I feel like since I’ve been at the University of Alabama, times have changed obviously, you know, with NIL and just different trends in college football. It’s a whole new generation of kids in college football too.
I feel like the way he adjusted to how he approaches his players and stuff like that, I feel like it’s been a very beneficial thing. Just building a strong relationship between him and the guys.
Q. Have you thought about, again, age 72, he could have an eighth national championship if you guys win, that he might walk it off. Has that crossed your mind?
DALLAS TURNER: Not really, but we just are living in the present right now. I can’t really speak on that, for real.
Q. Did you feel like people were doubting the Bama mystique? A lot of people talked about that over the years, kind of the intimidation factor. Do you think that people thought that, hey, it’s gone now after your loss to Texas?
DALLAS TURNER: I feel like a lot of people tried to write us off at the beginning of the season, especially the loss in week two and the performance we had in week three.
We had to come together and grow as a team. Every team is different, so the team I played on my freshman and sophomore year is different than the team we have now. With the leadership group and the type of attitude we have in the locker room and stuff like that.
It’s just everything is starting to come together, and we’re starting to peak at the right time.
Q. As a captain and a leader, where was your head after week two?
DALLAS TURNER: I mean, after week two I had to kind of do some self re-evaluating too with my play on the field and how I approach the game of football every day, my work habits, and just how to lead the guys in the right direction.
It was kind of a ‘come together’ moment where we had to sit down and really figure out what do we want to accomplish this season, so I feel like that was a pivotal moment in the season.
Q. After that was USF, the game you won. Was there more of the same soul-searching?
DALLAS TURNER: It was still a little bit of the same. There was a lot of things that us players we can’t control, but you know, it is what it is now.
Q. How have you seen a big part of that of Jalen just grow? We’ve seen him grow on the field, but he has been more comfortable talking, saying things. How have you seen him grow?
DALLAS TURNER: I came in with Jalen. Just seeing him grow from when he was 18, 19 years old to now being a grown man, it’s just a blessing. He has overcome a lot of things throughout the season. Everything he went through, he talked to us. That’s one thing — just happy to see a guy to bloom into the flower he is now.
Q. You saw the comment he made about Coach O’Brien yesterday?
DALLAS TURNER: Yeah.
Q. Did he ever voice any of that in the moment when that was happening?
DALLAS TURNER: Not really. I didn’t really know what was going on because he is on the offensive side of the ball. I can’t really say too much about it. I don’t really have no knowledge about it.
DALLAS TURNER: Go out there, hit and run fast and go out there and just have fun and play football, enjoy it.
Q. Are you still embracing that? Do you talk about that?
DALLAS TURNER: Yeah, we’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the season. We also have a term on defense called DOA, and that means dead on arrival, when we get to the ball. That’s something that’s stuck with us. We break it down every meeting on DOA. It kind of brings our defense together.
Q. Where are you better right now defensively, Dallas, than, say, that Texas game? Where are you most improved?
DALLAS TURNER: I feel like us as a defense, we are most improved by being on the same page. Being on the same page and understanding our assignment and knowing where our help is on the defense.
Just when guys come together as a defense, especially after a tough loss like that, you have to build a chemistry on the defensive side. To go out there and have fun so everybody is on the same page and do what we need to do and ball up.
Q. How does J.J. McCarthy’s mobility in his legs factor into how you are trying to play?
DALLAS TURNER: You have to contain the quarterback. Whenever he drops back in passing, everybody knows that J.J. can run very fast. He is an athletic quarterback. He is good at what he does.
You just have to contain the quarterback. You know it’s going to be a long day tomorrow on running around chasing him. I mean on Monday.
Q. With what are your impressions of Blake Corum?
DALLAS TURNER: He is a baller. I can’t even lie. I watched a lot of him last year. He is a very good running back. Very tough running back. He doesn’t give up easy. He is going to tote the rock for sure. He has no quit. He is a very good running back.
Q. Do you think he looks different from this year to last year since he has had the knee surgery?
DALLAS TURNER: If you know football, you know how injuries affect people, but you know the potential that they always have at the end of the day.
I feel like that kind of stands out a lot. Everybody knows he can run the ball. He is elusive, quick. Might be in this gap, and now he is in the other one. It’s going to be hard.
Q. Have you gotten to know L.T. Overton yet?
DALLAS TURNER: I got to talk to him a couple of times. I have seen a lot of good things come out of him. He seems like the type of guy that he is going to buy into the system and go about ways how we do over here.
Also, he played basketball, so I played basketball too. So we both played under you the same UIBO circuit. He is a little younger than me. I never played him or anything like that. I do know he played basketball.
Q. Did you see Domani Jackson at practice yesterday?
DALLAS TURNER: I seen him at practice. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, though?
Q. What was your reaction?
DALLAS TURNER: I feel like we’re DBU [Defensive Back University], so…
Q. When you guys were going through that Texas game, Dallas, everybody was doubting you, did you guys as players ever feel like there was a ‘sky is falling’ type moment?
DALLAS TURNER: Honestly, it always hurts losing, especially at home. Honestly, it was never really no panic. It was just like a moment where we had to tighten up as a defense, just have to tighten up and had to really get things right because that was a sloppy performance on us. Honestly it was a re-evaluating moment for us as a team.
Q. You know what was different too is for the first time in a while you heard a lot of people saying that maybe Coach Saban had lost his fast ball. I wonder how his players felt about that.
DALLAS TURNER: We never lost faith in coach, obviously. We believe and trust in everything he says to us and never lost faith in him. Same with our quarterback.
Q. He seemed like he was really intentional early in the season about being positive publicly and pushing back against fans maybe expecting too much from this team early on. Did you guys notice that? Did you hear it? How was that received in the locker room?
DALLAS TURNER: The media stuff, we call that rat poison in the building. We hear it, but we don’t hear it at the same time. It’s just you just keep on putting in the same work every day.
Q. When you are a guy that has won six titles, people are saying he is done, is it sort of weird to hear?
DALLAS TURNER: A lot of people that say that never played football before, but it is what it is, though. People talk.
Q. Tyler mentioned that a lot of the old Alabama players, the alumni, kind of mentioned that it didn’t look like old Bama, and they were influential in trying to get the program kind of back to that mentality. How much did they kind of provide some kind of, I guess, counsel to you guys?
DALLAS TURNER: On the sideline you see guys like Dont’a Hightower, Marcell Dareus. Those guys, they kind of just — they really motivate, especially when you see guys that you’ve been watching when you were 10 years old on the TV watching you on the sideline and giving you advice and stuff like that. It’s just very influential. Everyone on the team knows what old Bama was about for sure.
Q. Tyler said that the old school players chewed glass to eat dirt. Players aren’t like that anymore. How much do you feel like that gets lost it, and you have to coach players a different way these days?
DALLAS TURNER: Not everybody is like that now. There might be some people in college that chew glass to eat dirt. Of course, it’s different nowadays. It’s a new generation. Coach Saban likes to say, they don’t make them like they used to. I guess that might be true.
Q. Was there anything specific from Nick in the turnaround, or is it just the process every day? Can you trace it back to something?
DALLAS TURNER: It’s really just a process every day. We might emphasize something that time, but it’s like it’s a journey. It’s a journey. Every journey has its ups and downs and stuff like that. We’re still on our journey, of course, but you know, throughout the season it’s kind of been a roller coaster, but it’s been a roller coaster when you are going up at the same time. It’s just good to be a part of.
Q. How much concern did you have Saturday night when Florida State won that, hey, we’re right on the edge here?
DALLAS TURNER: I mean, we were the SEC champions. We beat a very good Georgia team, No. 1 in the country. I was really just more excited about that from how we came and how far we came from week two to being SEC champions. It was just a moment I had to embrace.
Q. You watched the selection as a team?
DALLAS TURNER: No.
Q. Everybody do their own thing?
DALLAS TURNER: I found out through Twitter. I was on my couch playing video games, and that’s how I found out. Someone called my phone. You are in the playoffs. I was, like, what? Yeah, it was crazy.
Q. Is that different from years past when normally y’all gather?
DALLAS TURNER: I don’t think my freshman year we gathered, and last year we didn’t gather, of course. I don’t think we ever really had a gathering to see who made the playoffs. I feel like they will let us know who we’re playing in the playoffs when we did.
Q. How would you describe J.J. McCarthy as a quarterback?
DALLAS TURNER: Very elusive, very mobile. He is a leader, field general. He runs the offense very well. He is just a very good quarterback. I’ll say that for sure.
Q. How do you think Michigan’s O-line compared to other O-lines you have faced this year?
DALLAS TURNER: I will say they have an old O-line, but an old, experienced O-line too. They are very smart. They know how to get in position and block. They understand run schemes and gap fits and all type of other stuff.
It’s going to be a very good game on [Monday]. It’s going to be a very challenging opponent to go against on Monday.
Q. Are you excited that you guys are in the underdog role? Is it different? How does it feel for you guys?
DALLAS TURNER: In a lot of games I’ve played in here I’ve been the underdog. The SEC Championship. This game. Just the past two too in the playoffs, I’m used to it.
Q. How much did you feel like you’re somewhat responsible maybe for limiting or keeping down Colston Loveland just by creating some pass rush where maybe he has to stay in to block maybe instead of going out on pass routes?
DALLAS TURNER: He is a very good receiver. He can block too. He is a very well put together tight end. You know it’s going to also be a challenge stopping him on Monday too. A lot of guys, a lot of DBs watch a lot of film on him. It’s going to be a very good challenge on Monday playing against him.
Q. Do you think because of what you can create with
DALLAS TURNER: The pass rush we have on the quarterback, it definitely could eliminate a receiver or a tight end in the game and receiving. You have to get the ball at the end of the day, but yeah.
Q. Do you think asking faced Brock Bowers, that you have a blueprint how to slow him down and contain him a little bit?
DALLAS TURNER: I believe in the DB room they have put together a blueprint. I was worried about the O-line and their running backs and quarterback. I don’t have to cover guys like that unless… yeah.
Q. It seems like Michigan has run a beat someone program. Beat Ohio State. Beat Georgia. Now it’s beat Bama. How do you think you can match their physicality on Monday, and do you guys have anything similar where it’s a 9-on-7 rough-and-tumble tackle drill?
DALLAS TURNER: We play in the SEC, so every week we try and get somebody’s best, especially on away games.
I feel like it’s nothing new playing against a team that wants to beat us. It’s also a very good opponent, and you have to respect your opponent all the time and stuff. It’s going to be a challenge on Monday for sure.
Q. Do you have anything that’s a 9-on-7 kind of running game only, kind of tackle drill to kind of get the guys hyped up?
DALLAS TURNER: We do a team run every day. That’s probably the hardest period of practice in my opinion.
Q. How crucial has Justin [Eboigbe] been to the success of the front seven?
DALLAS TURNER: I feel like since I’ve been here and I’ve seen how Justin is now, he has grown a lot, matured a lot. Really buckled down and perfected — not perfected, but perfecting his craft.
To see him grow, he is one of the team leaders in sacks and just being a captain and just being a leader in the D-line.
Q. He is a guy that can do a lot of things. How crucial is that? A lot of you guys can, but…
DALLAS TURNER: His versatility of playing from the zero all the way to a five technique and wide nine. Every 300-pounder is not doing that. Just having a guy like that in the defensive end is amazing.
Q. You still have a season to play, but there’s a chance that you and Chris both leave. How confident are you that Q [Quandarrius Robinson] can come in and be that leader on the edge rushing position?
DALLAS TURNER: I feel like every outside backer in the room should be confident enough to fill in those foot steps. I feel like everybody in the room, especially Quandarrius. He is an older guy. He knows and understand what it takes as well to be an outside linebacker at the University of Alabama.
Q. Do you guys pass down that knowledge? You said you got some stuff from Will [Anderson Jr.]. Have you throughout the season almost prepped him for that role?
DALLAS TURNER: I wouldn’t say I really prepped him, but we all learn off each other. It might be a passing move that Q does that I might ask him about, but if it’s something about plays and stuff like that and understanding the concept of the defense, he might come to me about it.
It’s all a circle. We all learn from each other. It’s not like someone at the top is passing down information and stuff. Energy is always good in the room.
Q. What challenges does their tight end present from what you have seen so far?
DALLAS TURNER: Which one?
Q. For Michigan.
DALLAS TURNER: Yeah, Colston [Loveland], he has a lot of versatility with being able to block. Actually, having a good yards after catch too. He is a big body, big guy.
He is going to catch the ball, of course. It’s going to be hard to bring him down on the field.
Q. People have been talking about how advanced Caleb [Downs] is as a freshman. Do you have a funny story that maybe kind of shows him as a freshman? Are there times where maybe not even from the football perspective that you can tell, okay, this kid is a little bit young, or is he just an old soul.
DALLAS TURNER: We’re teammates, so there’s some stuff in the locker room we might be playing around and stuff like that that just reminds me he is a freshman just like me too.
He is a very mature kid. I’ll say that. He is a very mature young man. Just having a guy down in the locker room. You can also learn stuff from him too, even with him being young and how he processes things and goes about his business. You can always learn go something from him?
Q. Have you followed the story of Michigan’s offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore? He coached four games this season when Coach Harbaugh was suspended.
DALLAS TURNER: I haven’t followed the story, but I do remember him winning we big game and getting emotional after the game and stuff like that. I haven’t really been following him too much, though.
Q. When you are watching film, what stands out about their running back [Blake Corum], and what’s the challenge of facing a big and talented back like that?
DALLAS TURNER: A lot of the things that stood out to me is his vision. He always no matter what type of run it is, he always seems to get yards. It’s weird that you see him get tackled in the back field.
Just him being him. He is a good back. He is a dude that you got to circle when we’re playing Michigan and stuff like that. You know, it’s just all about how you prepare the team.
Q. Justin was talking about how Tyler Bucher has really stepped in and provided you guys a look on scout team for J.J. McCarthy. What do you think about that?
DALLAS TURNER: He has done a lot of good things on scout team to give us a look. Tyler Bucher is fast and having to chase him around every day in practice, it’s a struggle, but he is helping us prepare chasing around J.J. McCarthy on Monday.
Q. If Michigan played in the SEC, how do you think they would finish?
DALLAS TURNER: If Michigan playing in the SEC, how do I think they would finish? I don’t even know. I don’t know. I feel like they wouldn’t be no bad team, though. I feel like they would probably finish — they might mess around and make the SEC Championship. Yeah.
Alabama Crimson Tide All-Time Passing Leaders
Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison