Alabama’s athletic offensive line

Alabama’s football team was supposed to have a challenge rebuilding its line. So far, the rebuilding effort has exceeded expectations. According to the AP, the offensive line has been “effective” because the line is more athletic this season. Here is an excerpt (entire AP story embedded in this post).

AP: Despite the downsized line, Alabama (3-0) still has a running game that is averaging 268 yards a game and has produced a league-high 11 touchdowns and a healthy 5.9-yard average per carry.

“I think it’s more athletic,” McElroy said of the line. “We lose Marlon Davis for Barrett Jones. Barrett was a really good athlete in high school. He’s not as big as Marlon, but he runs really well. Then we also lose Antoine Caldwell for William Vlachos. He runs really well also.

“We lose Andre for James and James is a very good athlete. We just have a little different identity in what we try to do offensively.”

One difference might be less reliance on running between the tackles to take advantage of blockers who can get outside and downfield a little quicker.

“You see guys pulling around a little more this year,” left guard Mike Johnson said. “I think that’s a product of teams trying to stop our inside run. We were a lot bigger last year and we were able to run downhill. Teams are doing more to stop that this year, so we use our athleticism.

“We’ve got a little bit lighter crew, and I feel like we move a little better and are able to get out in space and make some big blocks.”