Saturday could be the first start for offensive lineman JC Hassenauer in his career. He replaced left guard Ross Pierschbacher early in the Mississippi State game when he left with a high ankle sprain. Pierschbacher has not practiced this week.

Hassenauer’s teammates liked what they saw against the Bulldogs.

“J.C. did an incredible job,” senior center Bradley Bozeman said. “You couldn’t really ask for better. He played as best as he could. He really stepped up. That’s what practice is for is to practice those situation to get to those games and come out and have no drop off. We had no drop off. He did a very good job for us.”

Bozeman said Hassenauer blended well with the offensive line and was prepared when called upon. Hassenauer, a junior who has already graduated, has played in 21 career games. He’s bounced around with the reserve offensive line this season, and had been playing center since backup Brandon Kennedy was lost for the season earlier this year.

“J.C. did a nice job in the game,” coach Nick Saban said. “We have always rotated guys a little bit in the offensive line. J.C. also has to be the backup center so he has to do sort of dual duty regardless of what his circumstance is relative to playing guard.

This is the first time this season Alabama has had to replace a starter on the offensive line this season due to injury. Pierschbacher is a redshirt junior who had started 40 consecutive games at guard.

“We certainly need to continue to develop depth and make the kind of changes up front that we might need to make so that we have that kind of depth if something else happens to the offensive line or if we have an opportunity to play other players at different positions,” coach Nick Saban said. “Because that may be something that we need to do down the road.”