Jonah Williams, fellow linemen getting things going for Alabama

Jonah Williams, fellow linemen getting things going for Alabama

October 6th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Jonah Williams was a freshman right tackle in last year's 33-14 win over Texas A&M, but he will face the Aggies on Saturday night as the left tackle on an offense averaging 508.6 yards a game.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Having amassed 861 rushing yards the past two games — that's rushing yards, not total yards — Alabama has an offensive line that is having its way with every Southeastern Conference foe in its path.

Crimson Tide offensive linemen will look to continue their surge Saturday night at Texas A&M, though they insist there hasn't been any kind of switch that has been flipped.

"We like to establish the line of scrimmage, and as an offensive line I think we've been doing a good job all year," sophomore left tackle Jonah Williams said this week in a news conference. "I know in these past two games that we've run the ball a lot and have a lot of rushing yards, but I wouldn't say that anything has changed. We've practiced hard ever since we've been here, so it's not like anything has changed.

"It's just working out well."

Is it ever.

Alabama's average of 315.6 rushing yards per game not only leads the SEC but is on pace to obliterate last season's healthy clip of 245.0. The Crimson Tide would have posted more than 500 rushing yards during the 59-0 road rout of Vanderbilt two weeks ago had backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa not taken a knee on three straight plays in the final two minutes, thus leaving a total of 496.

The Tide followed that with 365 rushing yards in last week's 66-3 scorching of Ole Miss and will enter College Station averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

From a pass-protection standpoint, Alabama has been just as stout. The Tide have allowed four sacks through five games that have totaled 25 yards in total losses, a minuscule amount compared to the 2,543 yards and 508.6 yards per game they have compiled.

"I think our offensive line has progressed very nicely throughout the season," coach Nick Saban said. "I think we've improved each and every week, and hopefully we'll continue to do that. The challenge that they'll face this week is probably the biggest they've had since the first game of the season against Florida State's front.

"A&M has some talented guys up front, and they do a lot of things scheme-wise in terms of stemming and moving. They bring a lot of blitzes and a lot of things to prepare for, so they'll need all the knowledge and experience and physical play that they can muster to have success against this bunch. I think this will be a really good test for them."

Alabama has been beyond stable up front with Williams and Matt Womack as the tackles, Ross Pierschbacher and Lester Cotton as the guards and Bradley Bozeman at center.

Williams, a 6-foot-5, 301-pounder from Folsom, Calif., is in his first season as the starting left tackle after starting all 15 games at right tackle as a freshman. Needed to replace NFL second-round pick Cam Robinson, Williams has more than done his share, grading out at 90 percent against Fresno State and 91 percent against Vanderbilt.

"He's done a really good job all year long," Saban said. "He's a consistent player. He's smart. He's athletic, and he plays with a decent amount of power. We're really pleased with what he's been able to do."

Williams, in what qualifies as a sizable understatement, said this week that the linemen and the entire offense have adjusted well to first-year coordinator Brian Daboll. The Tide have surpassed 600 total yards in consecutive games for the first time in program history, hanging 677 on Vanderbilt and 613 on Ole Miss.

Alabama's 1,290 yards the past two games are more than the 1,245 it has allowed all season, but Williams is anything but satisfied.

"It's not like we don't think we're not doing a great job," he said. "We just know how much better we can do. We can do better at rushing even though we're averaging 315 yards a game.

"We can get better at everything we're doing, and that's what we plan to do moving forward."

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.