Following the second scrimmage of the fall, Alabama head coach Nick Saban remarked that the offense played better when it went fast.

Asked why that might be, starting left guard Ross Pierschbacher listed several reasons, but it boiled down to wearing out the defense. You’d think an offensive lineman would prefer to take his time, but that’s not the case.

“Everyone has more of a sense of urgency, getting ready, getting down on the line, getting the calls quick, getting the right calls,” Pierschbacher said. “If the defense doesn’t set up, it catches them off guard. Even wears out the defense, makes them play slower. I think that helps. I get more tired, but also the defense does. I think if we can kind of out-condition the defense, that’s where we have more success.”

The offensive line is still searching for a right tackle. That competition has been ongoing throughout fall camp. Redshirt Matt Womack has earned the majority of the snaps with the first rep-chart group. True freshman Jedrick Wills has made a move in the competition, too.

“A guy with huge potential,” Pierschbacher said. “Even if he’s not taking the right footwork, he’ll still blow a guy off the ball. It’s stuff you can’t teach that he has. He’s got a very bright future and a guy like him being a young freshman who didn’t even come early, just trying to work with him and have him learn as much as soon as possible.”

Saban said Wills, 6-foot-5, 314 pounds, has “the potential to help us” this season.

Overall, though, the line is coming together with Jonah Williams making the shift right tackle to left tackle. Ross Pierschbacher is back to start at left guard and Bradley Bozeman is the center. Lester Cotton, from Central High School, appears to have settled in at right guard.

“I think we’re doing (well),” Pierschbacher said. “I think we’ve made big strides, even this last week, of just really focusing on that. Coach has made a big, strong point of just really trying to clean up the protection, having everyone on the same page and just win you’re one-on-one matchups. I think we did a better job this week and in the second scrimmage as well.”

The sooner a starting five is locked in the better for the communication, but the process won’t be rushed.

“For me, I’d want to know the guy I’m playing next to and be able to start gelling communications-wise,” Pierschbacher said. “You have to know what the other person is thinking, too. I think for me if they moved Jonah (Williams)… But, yeah, I think everyone would like to have it set in concrete, but that’s not my call.”

Reach Aaron Suttles at or at 205-722-0229.


No. 1 Alabama

No. 3 Florida State

When: 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2

Where: Atlanta


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