For some insight on the play of the Alabama offensive line this season, TRips decided to check in with former UA offensive guard Griff Redmill, a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide from 1998-2000.
Redmill likes what he's seen from Anthony Steen this season.
TRips: As a former offensive linemen, the final 25 minutes of the Georgia game had to be fun to watch.
Redmill: It was awesome. I guarantee you those guys were begging to run the ball early in the second quarter. They usually figure out pretty quick when they've got something that will work on the other team. Sometimes the coach is the last one to listen.
TRips: So, the first 35 minutes were probably a little frustrating for those guys.
Redmill: Yes. I know it was for me.
TRips: Your thoughts on Anthony Steen's development.
Redmill: I think he's made huge strides this year. I think he's a guy the coaches have been high on all along. But he was prone to give up some fairly big negatives last year at times. He has eliminated those this year. He's a very good run blocker and his pass pro skills have improved drastically. He has done a good job this year bumping off with the center and right tackle in pass pro. That's a skill that takes a while to master.
TRips: In what ways might Barrett Jones' injury affect him in the BCS National Championship Game?
Redmill: When you have a 330 pounder on your nose, you definitely need to be able to gain all the leverage you can and be quick enough to gain an angle. But Barrett at 85 percent in a game like this might be better than the alternative.
TRips: You played on one wheel at various times during your career. What's the most difficult part of doing so?
Redmill: Most problematic was anytime I had to plant off of (an injured ankle) against strong pressure and hunker down against a bull rush. I'd say Notre Dame's nose tackle (Louis Nix) will create both of those scenarios often for Barrett.
TRips: Is it something that might require a change in scheme? More doubling the nose?
Redmill: Maybe. That might be a good thing anyway as Alabama has been prone to A gap penetration this year.
TRips: Doubling the nose frees someone else up. How do you account for the free guy?
Redmill: I think it might play well into that Power O we run with Chance Warmack pulling around. That usually requires a down block (on the nose) from the play side guard any way. I like our chances with 65 on Manti Te'o on that play. But also, it may not require an all-out double team. Just a two-man rub to the second level. It's a basic zone blocking technique.
TRips: Jones is a vet so you know he understands what needs to be done. Does the time away from practice hurt him in anyway?
Redmill: I think they'll make sure he's in shape. Footwork and fundamentals may be rusty, but he'll absolutely know the plan and know what to do.
TRips: In your opinion, Barrett Jones played his best football for UA at left tackle, right guard or center?
Redmill: Not center. I would have to go back and watch his sophomore season at right guard because that was before all eyes were on him all the time. But I can say I never saw him get beaten or over matched at left tackle.
TRips: Which position do you see him playing in the NFL?
Redmill: I think he can play guard. The fact he has the ability to jump in and play tackle and center probably means he'll play 10-12 years in the NFL. Probably not a Pro Bowler and maybe not a full-time starter, but guys that can play more than one spot typically hang around a long time and make a lot of money.
TRips: Would you say Barrett is the Greg McElroy of offensive linemen?
Redmill: That's a great comparison. You can go a long way if you never make a mistake.
TRips: Think coaching is something your old UA linemate, Chris Samuels, wants to do long-term?
Redmill: I think so. He seems to like it. Plus, he's not a guy that is just content swinging in a hammock enjoying his millions. He's going to do something.
TRips: Got a prediction for the game?
Redmill: 28-20, Alabama.
TRips: So, you see more points in the game than most prognosticators.
Redmill: Yes. I don't think either defense is really as good as the numbers suggest.
Follow Griff on twitter: @papermill75.
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