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Nick Saban excited to have OL coach Eric Wolford build a line in front of Bryce Young

Alabama OL coach Eric Wolford giving signals in 2022 spring practice
Photo by Rodger Champion

Although it returns the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Bryce Young, one of the bigger concerns amongst Alabama’s offense resides in the five spots in front of Young.

Alabama’s offensive line was largely inconsistent throughout last season and with the loss of top 10 NFL Draft selection Evan Neal and offensive line coach Doug Marrone leaving the program, the already turbulent group has more moving parts to juggle.

But head coach Nick Saban seems to be confident in the new man replacing Marrone, former Kentucky offensive line coach Eric Wolford.

“I think one of the biggest challenges, is the offensive line rebuild that we need to do,” Saban said. “I’m excited about the coach that we have at that position, Coach Wolford has done a really good job with the players and relationship building, fundamental progress. We do have some new players that may contribute to that that weren’t there in the spring. That’s something that we’ll have to sort of assess in fall camp.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Alabama allowed 189 pressures and 44 quarterback hurries in 2021. Saban and Wolford would hope that sort of performance doesn’t repeat itself, but in the meantime, much of the burden to make plays will once again be put on the shoulders of Young.

Despite the lack of protection at times, Young put together one of the most impressive seasons from a quarterback in Alabama history and helped lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship game. Anytime a high-profile quarterback returns to school after a season like Young’s it is easy for players to have a slump or decline which more often than not is the case. Saban shared that he has emphasized to his quarterback that “success is not a continuum” in order for his play to remain at a high level.

“I think that one of the most important things for Bryce or any player who has success is to understand that success is not a continuum,” Saban said. “You have to continue to — success is momentary. So if you’re going to continue to have success, you have to stay focused on the things you need to do to improve, to prepare, to lead, to impact and affect other people around you.

“Bryce has shown every indication that he’s got a willingness to do all those things. He’s a perfectionist in terms of what he wants to do and what he wants to accomplish. So far I’ve been pleased with the way he’s been able to maintain the mindset that you need to do to continue to improve and make progress as a player.”

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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