Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Alabama Analysis: Expect more from UA's offensive line

While fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide shouldn't expect the 2014 offensive front to be as stout as the 2012 line, one of the greatest in 'Bama history, the 2014 line should be better than what UA fans winessed last season.

During the 2013 campaign, the offensive front was a question mark most all season, especially during the first month. Most Tide fans can still remember the uneasiness which seemed to permeate the season-opener against Virginia Tech.

While the Crimson Tide did lose Cyrus Kouandjio and Anthony Steen from the 2013 squad, two impact starters, Alabama should be more secure and solid this season as a whole.

Prominent players

Leon Brown
Dominick Jackson (JUCO)
Ryan Kelly (Returning Starter)
Arie Kouandjio (Returning Starter)
Cameron Robinson (True Freshman)
Austin Shepherd (Returning Starter)
Alphonse Taylor

Emerging talent

Bradley Bozeman
Joshua Casher (True Freshman)
Brandon Greene
J.C. Hassenauer (True Freshman)
Grant Hill
Isaac Luatua
Ross Pierschbacher (True Freshman)

Departures from 2013

Cyrus Kouandjio
Anthony Steen
Kellen Williams

For 2014, the Crimson Tide will return three starters, add a prominent junior college transfer, and welcome arguably the top offensive lineman in the nation in the person of five-star stud Cameron Robinson. The talent is on the table, now the chemistry needs to cook on the front burner.

In respect to the aforementioned Robinson, by virtually all accounts, the true freshman will be the starter at left tackle. The kid is a mountain on two legs, and has garnered nothing but high praise from the 'Bama coaching staff since his arrival in January.

Leon Brown, Dominick Jackson, and Alphonse Taylor will likely battle to decide who completes the Crimson Tide front line. Due to a foot ailment, Brown missed the first week of preseason camp, and Jackson, during Alabama's initial scrimmage of camp, suffered an ankle injury. As of now, simply due to the obvious factors, Taylor is the current favorite to start against West Virginia. However, quite obviously, this is subject to multiple changes.

Alabama's offensive line is talented, big, and strong. Tide fans should expect this group to gel much faster than the 2013 edition. Come October, barring injury, 'Bama should have one of the most productive offensive fronts in the SEC, and perhaps the nation.

Unit rating: 8.5/10

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