Alabama is going to be missing another key defensive player when the Crimson Tide takes the field against Southern Miss this Saturday. Crimson Tide defensive end LaBryan Ray will miss at least six weeks with a lower-leg injury.

The Alabama defensive depth will be tested, but Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn’t sound like he has any qualms with that. He expressed his confidence in Ray’s replacement, freshman Justin Eboigbe.

“We think he can be a good player. I think he needs reps, and those reps that he missed (in spring) over that two weeks probably set him back a little bit,” Saban said in his Wednesday press conference. “But we need to keep him healthy, we need to manage his reps and we need to continue to have him improve. But we like him as a player, and he’s shown a lot of maturity as a player to be able to sort of do the things the way you need to do it. And he always seems to play a little better in the game or in the scrimmage than he did in practice, which is the sign of a really good competitor.”

Eboigbe arrived at Alabama as a 4-star prospect in the 2019 recruiting class. Based on the 247Sports composite rankings, he was the 62nd best-ranked player and fifth-highest rated defensive end in the country.

He will have to replace LaBryan Ray, who posted nine total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack in the first three games this season. If Ray recovers in the six-week timeframe, he would be able to return for the LSU matchup.