Alabama Football: To be concerned or not about the offensive line


After Saturday’s scrimmage, Alabama football fans are interested to learn more about the Tide’s new offensive line. Some fans are a tad concerned. Are there good reasons to be concerned or is the current stage of offensive line development standard ‘work-in-progress’ stuff?

From the ‘be concerned’ perspective there are multiple potential issues. After reviewing those, the same approach will be used to discuss the ‘not concerned’ perspective.

Reasons to be concerned about the Alabama Football Offensive Line

  • No matter how strong the Tide’s recruiting has been, it is never easy to replace three offensive line starters. For just the second time in Crimson Tide history, the 2020 offensive line won the Joe Moore Award for the best offensive line in college football. Three of the five starters are now in the NFL.
  • The Crimson Tide has two projected starters in their fifth and sixth seasons. So far, other than injury fill-in, they are career backups. Now, Kendall Randolph and Chris Owens must be much more.
  • If any of the projected five starters; Evan Neal, Javion Cohen, Chris Owens, Emil Ekiyor Jr. and Kendall Randolph are lost to injury – are enough second unit guys good enough to go against Miami and Florida or later?
  • Though not considered serious (we hope) Evan Neal and Chris Owens did not participate in Saturday’s scrimmage. Neal did participate in position drills during the Monday night practice.
  • An unproven quarterback needs the security of a proven offensive line and at least early in the season, Bryce Young will not have one.
  • At Saturday’s scrimmage, some observers claim the Tide’s defensive fronts were too much for the offensive line groups.

Reasons not to be concerned about the Alabama Football Offensive Line

  •  It takes time for offensive lines to come together and no conclusion should be made after only three days of full contact.
  • At left tackle, Evan Neal will arguably be the best tackle in college football.
  • Though not at the same level of athleticism as Neal, Emil Ekiyor Jr. is very good.
  • Slated starter at left guard, sophomore Javion Cohen got an unusual pre-Camp endorsement from Nick Saban. Saban never lavishes praise. Until am Alabama Football season is over, the Tide’s head man is stingy with player accolades. Cohen must, at least, have the potential to be special.
  • At center, Chris Owens has learned the respect of his teammates. Providing leadership for the unit comes naturally to Owens.
  • Kendall Randolph is a smart, tough player, who can play three positions. When Evan Neal was not available for Saturday’s scrimmage, Doug Marrone moved Randolph to left tackle. That small decision deserves notice. Another ‘we hope’ is Randoph’s ankle sprain from the scrimmage is not serious.
  • Behind the five players discussed above are some future Crimson Tide stars. A couple of them and maybe more could handle starting duty this season.

Next. Previewing the Crimson Tide Tight Ends. dark

Alabama fans can choose. The Crimson Tide glass is half empty or half full. Or we can just trust college football’s greatest ever coach.