NEW ORLEANS – Alabama is known for consistently having one of the best offensive lines in the country and this season is no different.
The Crimson Tide have six former offensive lineman in the National Football League and have major horse-power on their current offensive line as they enter their fourth consecutive College Football Playoff.
On the other side Clemson matches the Alabama strength with athleticism and quickness on the defensive line and the Tigers are poised to crack the Crimson Tide front.
While the Tide have a sturdy offensive front, it faces a daunting task in slowing down an explosive Clemson defensive line.
Alabama is led by a pair of All-SEC and All-American lineman in sophomore tackle Jonah Williams and senior center Bradley Bozeman.
Bozeman, a team captain, weighs in at a solid 315 pounds and earned consensus second team All-America honors as one of the nation’s top centers.
He had high praise for the challenges Clemson presents on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
“They’re a great defense… no doubt about that” said Bozeman on the podium for the Alabama offensive press conference at the Marriott Convention Center in New Orleans.
“They’re big, they’re fast, they’re strong… you name it, they got it,” he said.
Williams had a tremendous season for the Tide at left tackle earning first team All-SEC by both the coaches and the media, while getting second team All-America honors from AFCA and third team from the Associated Press.
The sophomore tackle is familiar with what the Tigers do up front and knows the level of difficulty involved in stopping the Clemson defensive line.
“They’re long, they’re rangy, quick, slippery—all the things you see in a good D-line,” said Williams.
“They generate a lot of negative plays so it poses a challenge for us, and it’s something we’ve been preparing for,” he said.
The Tiger defense has wreaked havoc on opponents all season. The starting front four of Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, and Austin Bryant have combined for 23.5 sacks and 42.5 tackles-for-loss in their unit alone.
Despite the challenge ahead Williams is not changing the way he prepares for the Tigers.
“They’re a great team, but we don’t look at it differently than any other game,” said Williams.
The Crimson Tide offensive line squares off against its toughest test of the 2017 campaign on New Year’s Night in the Sugar Bowl.