It has the makings of being a Joe Moore Award-winning group.
Nick Saban has coached his fair share of elite offensive linemen at Alabama that includes Andre Smith, Antoine Caldwell, Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker, Cyrus Kouandjio, Ryan Kelly, Cam Robinson and Jonah Williams to name a few.
While the units of 2012 and 2013 stand as his best ones, this year’s offensive front has a trio of experience, talent and depth to rival both groups. The hiring of Kyle Flood from the Atlanta Falcons (NFL) has been a smooth transition for the Crimson Tide and he has the position back playing with physicality in run blocking and pass protection.
Upon taking the podium for his presser on Thursday, Saban told reporters he feels “really good” about this group.
“I like the offensive line,” Saban said.
“I think we got some pretty good experience there. I like the two tackles we have. I think they both had really good camps. We have four to five guys that can play inside that have done really well. So, without naming specific players, I think we can have a really good offensive line.”
Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills played together in 2018.
The two coveted linemen came in the 2017 recruiting class and both saw the field as freshman, helping Alabama to a College Football Playoff national title. Wills returns as a starter at right tackle, while Leatherwood goes to his natural spot at left tackle.
He played right guard last year.
When it comes to the players that can excel on the interior, Saban was referring to Chris Owens, Emil Ekiyor, Matt Womack, Evan Neal and Landon Dickerson. Dickerson, a graduate transfer from Florida State, came in and has immediately impressed teammates and coaches.
The 6-foot-6, 308-pounder can play at either guard or center.
During practice this week, Neal has worked at left guard and Dickerson saw reps at right guard with the first-team. Owens and Ekiyor took turns rotating at center. Womack, a redshirt senior, has rotated in and out, but he returns with the most experience (31 games) of the group.
Saban wants to get the best five on the field and have them developing chemistry with each other, but the Tide has dealt with a few bumps and bruises. Another thing he stated was on how he feels good about the numbers at the position versus what Alabama’s had in the past.
Coach Flood is doing work and his boys are following suit.
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