Grab a pen. Jonah Williams is about to break things down.
Alabama’s starting left tackle has apparently heard your concerns about the offensive line and he wants to explain a few things.
First, he gets it. The dynamic lends itself to criticism for the big fellas after a game like Saturday’s when the Crimson Tide allowed four sacks in a 24-0 win over Mississippi State.
“We don’t want the glory,” said Williams, known as one of the more cerebral linemen at a position known for precisely that. “We don’t want that. We want to see the team be successful. So, I’m just poking fun at how we get it laid on us. But I think we take a lot of pride in that and don’t mind being the scapegoats. Because we know, and the guys on the team know, that the offense starts with us. And we take pride in that.”
Now, it’s time to dial in.
Try and keep up with Williams breakdown of the, well, breakdowns.
“There are a lot of things that go into it, some of them being on the offensive line, some of them being more scheme-oriented,” Williams began. “I think they were very aggressive on defense after the first two drives when we moved the ball pretty easily. They kind of went into aggressive mode and when they do that there are a lot of opportunities that are open that maybe we didn’t take advantage of.”
Here it comes.
“There are some schematic things,” Williams continued, “for example, when they ran some cover eights where you have quarters of the field, half of the boundaries, you have a half safety, you have a trap corner playing seven yards off the line, and he was triggering fast on the runs, so when you’re running split inside runs you are short a guy. You want to be able to block him, so you either have a box blocker for him or you throw quick balls over the top.
“That’s the thing the casual observer watches and says, ‘Hey, they’re not blocking anybody.’ And we’re not accounting for him in our box, but I’m also not giving you the keys to the castle. There are a lot of ways to exploit that and if there wasn’t everyone would do that. So, some of it was scheme and some of it was not playing as well as we can.”
Williams went on to say it would be naive to think every sack was simply the result of a missed assignment.
“Because you guys don’t know what the assignments are,” he concluded.
That’s true. It’s often more complicated than the armchair coordinator (or sports writer) would realize.
Sometimes, a writer or two might write about that situation but Williams tries to avoid it.
“I make a point of not reading anything about the games,” he said. “I get frustrated for no reason and don’t like to work myself up. I try to find pictures of myself. No one takes pictures of me. The only time I read anything is when I look for pictures of myself and then I read a headline and get mad about it, and so I quit looking for pictures of myself, because there’s not going to be one anyway.”
Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC) still ranks 11th nationally in fewest sacks allowed with 11. The Tide plays The Citadel at 11 a.m. CT Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.