Alabama Football News

Alabama football has depth at center and Nick Saban is loving it

Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

Spring practice will conclude with the A-Day Game on Saturday, but one of few positions for Alabama football is starting to become solidified now. 

At the beginning of practice, which started on March 8, one of the first questions to Nick Saban was the stability of the offensive line – primarily at center. Seeing how the program has produced Antonie Caldwell, Barrett Jones and Ryan Kelly as All-Americans, the head coach for the Crimson Tide singled out Chris Owens as someone that could carry on the tradition. 

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After thirteen sessions, Saban feels the same about Owens but there are two others that have joined the conversation. Along with the redshirt junior, who backed up Ross Pierschbacher last season through 13 games, two freshmen — Emil Ekiyor and Darian Dalcourt — have impressed the coaching staff and teammates. While it normally scrambles for depth at the position, Alabama will enter the fall with three exceptional talents at the offensive controls. 

“Chris Owens has done a really good job there,” Saban said on the center position. 

“E [Emil Ekiyor] has done a really good job when he has had to play there. Dalcourt looks like he’s a young guy that can be a good center somewhere down the road.” 

In terms of Owens, the 6-foot-3 and 315-pound specimen was a four-star recruit and one of nation’s top offensive guards coming from high school in 2016. A native of Arlington, Texas, Owens has both the intelligence and athleticism to be the next All-American at center. 

“Chris Owens has really shown a lot of leadership,” Saban said on Thursday. “He’s worked really hard this spring and teammates have confidence in him.” 

Saban and Kyle Flood (OL coach) will continue tinkering with this group to find the best five for next season, but it’s starting to look good now and especially at center.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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