In an era of football in which those that score like Oregon and put up numbers like DeAnthony Thomas get the critical acclaim, the offensive linemen normally finds their names in the paper only when their quarterback thanks them in a postgame press conference.
Not the case for Alabama’s big men, as the group that includes projected NFL talent like Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker and Barrett Jones, is getting more notoriety.
“It’s pretty neat that people walk by, ‘Hey Fluke, how you doing?’,” Fluker said. “I speak back. I’m just a humble person. I do it because people love it.”
The entire offense has seen a spike in notoriety after engineering the game-winning drive to give the Crimson Tide its 21-17 win over LSU in Death Valley.
The offensive line had a great impact on that drive, giving quarterback AJ McCarron plenty of time to find wide receiver Kevin Norwood and running back T.J. Yeldon on the five-play drive.
Fluker may have played the biggest part, shutting down LSU’s best pass rushing defense end, Barkevious Mingo.
“I made them all,” Fluker said of his assignments on the game-winning drive.
Fluker’s affect was felt as a motivational presence, as well, as he was spotted pacing the sidelines getting the team to pull together in the final minutes.
“I told them they got to believe,” Fluker said. “You can’t just hang your head.
“I was like, I’ve got to believe, keep on driving. Because you have to keep the faith. Coach always talks about that. You’ve got to believe in what you’re doing. I told everybody on the sideline that – and it happened. We scored on the last drive to win the game. It was an awesome experience.”
Fluker making his voice heard is nothing new for the tight-knit offensive line unit, or to the whole team.
“He brings the energy to everybody; defense, offense, special teams,” Warmack said. “If it’s a sluggish practice, he’s going to be the one yelling and keeping everyone upbeat.”
Fluker may be the most noticeable voice, but he doesn’t make himself out to be the only one.
“On the offensive line, that’s everybody. I can’t just take all the credit for that. That’s Barrett Jones, Chance, Chance talks, too, and Steen. We all talk to each other.
“He’s a tremendous athlete in terms of just keeping his mind focused at all times,” Warmack said.
Fluker does not take any breaks, either. He’s honing his mental game when he’s away from the practice field.
“On the offensive line, that’s everybody,” Fluker said. “I can’t just take all the credit for that. That’s Barrett Jones, Chance, Chance talks, too, and Steen. We all talk to each other.”
Fluker’s incredible focus has inspired a new catch phrase of his: Get your mind right.
“Oh yeah, we wrote a little song on that,” Fluker said. “You have to be at practice to see that. But it’s funny. Everybody gets into it. It gets everybody cranked up. We just have fun out there with it. It’s really fun.”