Nick Saban: ‘A Lot of Competition’ at Two Vacant Tackle Positions
The Alabama Crimson Tide opened up the 2022 season on Friday with the first spring practice of the year. The Tide is looking to repeat as SEC Champions and win the national championship for the seventh time under head coach Nick Saban.
A primary reason for Alabama's struggles in the national championship matchup against Georgia, the regular season loss to Texas A&M and the close wins over LSU and Auburn was the offensive line's inability to consistently protect Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Bryce Young.
The Tide must make improvement along the offensive line if Alabama wants to return to dominant offensive football. Alabama is without last season's tackles Evan Neal and Chris Owens and has a question-mark at center between Darrian Dalcourt and Seth McLaughlin.
Well, we’ve had one practice, so I don’t know how I can assess anybody’s progress from last year to this year. I know they’ve worked hard in the offseason. I think they’re in better condition. I think they’ve improved their bodies. I mean, Damieon George had a really good offseason. So I think we’re encouraged by the progress he makes, whether he plays guard or tackle. We’re gonna see if Javion Cohen should be a guard or a tackle. We’ll see if J.C. Latham should be a guard or a tackle, Kendall Randolph to be a tackle. Tommy Brockermeyer has got a chance to compete at the position. He was kind of in and out a little bit, fighting some injury things in the offseason, but we think he’ll be able to make progress in the spring. There’s a lot of competition at the position and quite frankly we’re moving a lot of guys around to try see how we can get the best five guys to play. I’m not disappointed in the progress that any of them have made to this point.
-Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban
Alabama's Javion Cohen started all season at left guard in 2021 but could be a candidate to be moved to the outside due to his length and experience.
Second-year players J.C. Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer both came to Tuscaloosa as highly rated prospects and will have opportunities for major playing time. Latham played in 14 games in 2021 as a backup and a special teams player.
Damieon George and Kendall Randolph both bring lots of experience to the tackle competition. George played in 12 games in 2021, starting against New Mexico State in place of an injured Owens. Randolph has played in 41 games for the Tide as a hybrid tight end and tackle, his versatility and experience make him an interesting candidate for one of the tackle positions.
The Crimson Tide hopes a shuffling of the line will help the unit return to 2020 Joe Moore Award winning form. To help the line improve in 2022 Alabama went out and hired Eric Wolford to replace Doug Marrone.
Spring practice will resume on Monday, March 21 after the athletes return from Spring Break.