Alabama football returns three starters from last year’s offensive line – Bradley Bozeman, Ross Pierschbacher and Jonah Williams – yet it must find options at left tackle and right guard.
When it comes to both observing and critiquing offensive linemen, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said the focus from both he and his staff will be geared toward putting the best five guys on the field.
“We don’t have a depth chart right now. We have a rep chart,” Saban said on Tuesday.
“I can’t really tell you after one day of practice who’s doing great on the offensive line. It’s hard to evaluate those guys in the offseason program, because no one struggles more than the big guys. It will be interesting to see how those guys do now that we’re practicing football and their playing in a short area.”
While Saban stated that the team needs someone to come through at left tackle, he did mentioned rising junior Lester Cotton as a viable option on the interior line.
“Lester Cotton played at right guard today,” he said. “He’s played there before.”
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 324 pounds, Cotton started three games at right guard a season ago. He turned in a clutch performance against Tennessee, helping the Tide account for 594 yards of total offense.
The Tuscaloosa native blocked for 409 rushing yards, including 100-yard efforts from quarterback Jalen Hurts and running back Bo Scarbrough. Cotton aided Hurts to 114 yards rushing and a touchdown on 20 carries in Alabama’s 10-0 win over LSU, while guiding Scarbrough to 180 yards and two scores versus Washington.
Despite being switched to tackle down the stretch in 2016, he’s played a lot of football under Saban.