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Keeping up With the Offensive Line at Alabama

The Alabama Crimson Tide will look completely different this next season, but maybe not as previously thought. It was reported on Wednesday that new transfer and Iowa Hawkeyes offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor would transfer back to Alabama. The situation is as confusing as it is frustrating to people who feel the NIL and the transfer portal are too lenient. That being the case, if and when Proctor returns to Alabama, he joins an offensive line that faced many changes, some being good.

Keeping up With the Offensive Line at Alabama

What Happened After the 2023 season?

Proctor’s first season as a starter was not as great as other true freshmen who got the chance to start early. That being said, while he struggled numerous times last season, he wasn’t the full problem. For two seasons, offensive line coach Eric Wolford has been underwhelming in developing the offensive line at Alabama. After having the offensive line give up a program-high 49 sacks in 2023 and the players getting bullied at the line of scrimmage, it was an easy decision for new head coach Kalen DeBoer to not retain Wolford. He thought he could make a great connection by hiring his offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb and offensive line coach Scott Huff to Alabama. Not long afterward, the Seattle Seahawks offered both coaches the chance to remain in Seattle, this time, for the NFL. Also, center Seth McLaughlin and Terrance Ferguson transferred, so not all bad.

The Outlook of the Offensive Line at Alabama

It is unlikely that Proctor will be able to transfer, get situated with the new team, and play in the 2024 A-Day Game. This gives more players opportunities to make their case for the new regime of the offense. Losing three (not counting Proctor) is going to take some time to figure out the permanent starters. That is not going to be a concern for new offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic, who has created elite units at Southern Miss, North Carolina, and Michigan State. He has been an offensive line every year since 2001. Kapilovic will have the time to properly develop his players and give them confidence.

Tyler Booker enters the 2024 season as a junior after an up-and-down 2023 season with 12 games played as a starter. He was better as a run-blocker in 2023 but didn’t play the elite pass protection he had in 2022. Pro Football Focus gave him an overall run-blocking grade of 71.2, but there is serious optimism about playing better with a better coach.

Jaeden Roberts was one of the more consistent interior offensive linemen last season. Roberts was stout as a pass-protector in the semi-final loss to #1 Michigan, according to PFF. He earned an overall grade of 78.3 from PFF, the fourth-most among power five guards.

Both Booker (#3) and Roberts (#7) list at PFF’s top interior offensive linemen returning in 2024. The top-ranked player is former Washington center Parker Brailsford, who transferred to Alabama on January 21. As a redshirt freshman last season for the Huskies, he was among the most consistent blockers in the passing and running game. He finished with the second-most value center ranking in terms of wins in blocks. Brailsford will be an instant star in an interior offensive line.

Questions Remain at Offensive Tackle 

There are questions at the offensive tackle positions. Most questions will be answered if Proctor returns to Alabama this spring. If he cannot be prepared for the spring, players like Elijah Prichett, Miles McVay, and Texas A&M transfer Naquil Bertrand. Prichett played sparingly in the first 13 games played of the season. As a true freshman, McVay played 29 total reps in four games last season. Both Prichett and McVay measure in at 6-6 with McVay being 38 pounds heavier. Bertrand also measures in at 6-6 but didn’t see the field in the 2023 season. This spring is going to be a great opportunity for one of three or another player to make a good first impression with the new coaching staff.

Alabama offensive line
Photo courtesy: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports


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