Alabama Football: Offensive Line makes Joe Moore Award Watch List

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The offensive line for Alabama football was named to the Midseason watch list for the 2022 Joe Moore Award, which goes to the nation’s top offensive line at the conclusion of every season.

Alabama is one of 22 schools represented on the list, which includes five SEC schools. The others are Arkansas, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Tennessee.

The Alabama offensive line hasn’t performed at an elite level all season, but it is greatly improved from last year. New coach Eric Wolford and some lineup experimentation seem to have made a significant difference.

This season, Alabama Football ranks 12th nationally in rushing yards per game (236.7) and first in yards per carry (6.5). In 2021, it ranked 77th and 78th in those respective categories and struggled to generate big plays on the ground.

The additions of Jahmyr Gibbs and a healthy Jase McClellan certainly brought speed and vision to the running back room, but this offensive line has played a major role in the drastic run game improvements.

In pass protection, Alabama has allowed ten sacks (1.43 per game) in 2022. This is still not an elite number, but it is a far cry from the 41 sacks the Tide allowed last season, which ranked 120th in the country.

Despite being honored as one of the nation’s top units midway through 2022, Alabama’s interior rotation is still somewhat in flux.

Tyler Steen and JC Latham have locked down the tackle spots. The development of Steen, a veteran transfer from Vanderbilt, and Latham, a true sophomore, have been critical. Alabama Football was fortunate to have a top-10 NFL draft pick at left tackle in Evan Neal, but it could never find a suitable right tackle in 2021. The position was a revolving door throughout the year, and was ultimately one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. That has changed for the better, as Latham has begun to live up to his 5-star billing.

Seth McLaughlin appeared to have seized the center role over a struggling Darrian Dalcourt, but was assisted to the injury tent towards the end of the Tennessee game. It is unknown who will start at center going forward.

Emil Ekiyor and Javion Cohen, the incumbents at the guard positions, are still currently starters. However, true freshman Tyler Booker has inserted himself into the rotation with his physical play. Booker and McLaughlin both bring an aggressive edge to the line, and add some pop to the Alabama running game.

Next. Gauging Mississippi State. dark

Alabama football won the inaugural Joe Moore Award in 2015, and won it again in 2020, both en route to national titles. It remains to be seen if the 2022 group can follow suit.