Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE
The battle in the trenches when the Tide have the ball.
I can only imagine what it will be like along the line of scrimmage for this matchup. Big ugly starring down big ugly.
Alabama's offensive line is without question the best O-line in the country.
- C - Barrett Jones: think of any award or superlative an offensive lineman can have, he has it. The best O-lineman in the country.
- LG - Chance Warmack: a senior and 3-year starter. 1st team All-American by Phil Steele
- RG - Anthony Steen: Junior and 2-year starter.
- LT - Cyrus Kouandjio: Sophomore and 1st year starter. 5-star coming out high school.
- RT - D.J. Fluker: Junior and 3-year starter. 1st team All-American by Phil Steele.
Perhaps the only team in the country with a D-line that could say they are equal to Bama's O-line is South Carolina, so we know the Tide will have the advantage here. But that doesn't mean they'll have the advantage on every play.
Alabama's entire offensive line is brutal to go against, but the interior is especially brutal. That is a bad matchup for State's DT's. What was once thought of as a super-strength is now viewed as a possible weakness. Josh Boyd's play hasn't been anything spectacular. The real issue has been trying to find someone to fill the spot next to him. Could true freshman Quay Evans
see significant time on the field in this game? Will P.J. Jones
step up? Virges, Cherrington? And will State be able to rotate in enough bodies to go after Jones, Wormack and Steen effectively?
On the edge Kaleb Eulls and Denico Autry
will try to make hay against the best in the business. The good news is State has some talented guys as well, the bad news is they aren't that experienced. If Autry goes against Kouandjio, a young player, will he win a few of those battles and get to McCarron?
This is perhaps the most important matchup of the game. Will MSU's DEs be able to get any pressure at all? Will the DTs have any chance to get off their blocks and stuff the run? How much help will the D-line need from the linebackers? Alabama has a clear edge here, but how much of an edge MSU allows them to have will tell that tale.