Alabama ready for competition, improvement as fall practice gets under way
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter BriAsia Kelley
Alabama returned to the field Thursday, holding it’s first practice of fall camp on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.
One of the competitions that will be closely followed by fans and media is along the offensive line, where the Crimson Tide must replace two offensive lineman. Both of last seasons starting tackles are now in the NFL. The New York Giants selected Evan Neal with the No. 7 overall selection in April’s draft, and Chris Owens is at NFL training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Five players were part of competition at one of both of the offensive tackle spots, and newcomer Tyler Steen joins the position battle. Steen is a transfer player from Vanderbilt, so he brings SEC starting experience. But the Alabama lineman that is generating some of the biggest buzz is sophomore JC Latham.
“That’s my guy,” senior OL Emil Ekiyor Jr. said. “He came in from day one, even his freshman year, he was just ready to work and put in the extra work. It’s been really good just working with him and taking him under my wing as an older guy and he’s put in a lot of work this offseason and I feel like he’s ready to have a really big year.”
Tyler Steen is one of five players Alabama added out of the NCAA transfer portal this offseason. The others are: wide receiver Tyler Harrell (University of Louisville), wide receiver Tremaine Burton (University of Georgia), running back Jahmyr Gibbs (Georgia Tech), and cornerback Eli Ricks (LSU).
Alabama senior linebacker Henry To’oto’to, who played his first two seasons at Tennessee before transferring to Alabama last offseason, spoke highly of the make-up of this years team and offered some advice to the incoming class of transfers.
“One thing I told them, especially the guys that transferred in…was never change who you are, but adapt to the culture,” To’oto’o said. “Being able to learn coach Saban’s ways, learn the Alabama standard and finesse your game around that.”
Alabama kicks off the 2022 season against Utah State at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 3.