Friday, September 27, 2019

Deonte Brown could be the difference between an Alabama Championship and another year of coming up short

His teammates at Alabama nicknamed him 'Cornbread.' When he brought is 6' 4" frame and his appetite to Tuscaloosa, he weighed a scant few ounces shy of 400 lbs. His high school coaches called him 'Diesel' because of his size, strength and ability to just knock defenders down in the dirt.

"He’s a large human being,” said Jeremy Perkins, Brown’s former coach at Austin High School in Decatur, Ala. “He’s like a diesel truck coming through when he was out there. He was knocking people down left and right.”

He was beginning to show some of that promise in the 2018 season, but ran afoul of Coach Nick Saban and the NCAA and was forced to miss the college football playoffs last season and the first four games of 2019. His suspension is now over, and the question is whether he can get into the starting lineup early enough for the Tide offensive line to gel as a unit in time for the late season matchups against LSU, Auburn and (presumably) Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.'s Jess Nicholas notes that Brown has added a lot of weight over the offseason and hasn’t taken it off yet. Nicholas also notes that who he’d replace is up in the air, as both Evan Neal and Landon Dickerson have played well and shown improvement, and mentions that Brown doesn’t play center, which is where the offensive line is weakest.

 “The plan for every player on our team is the guy’s got to beat someone out if he wants to play,” Saban said earlier this week. “If he gets in shape, he does what he’s supposed to do, he shows he’s better than somebody else who’s playing, that’s the plan. Just like it’s the plan for every other guy on the team. That’s really kind of up to him. It’s not up to me.”

My bet is that Brown gets into the game--probably late--against Ole Miss. The coaches will want to see how he plays against SEC competition. He'll get looks in both running and passing situations and they'll be keen to see how he does in plays where QB Tua Tagovailoa improvises and changes what he's doing after the snap.

I said in the season preview that Saban wants to go back to power football. The problem so far (if you want to find one) is that the running game has not been up to Sabanesque standards. A 6' 4" 350-ish lb 'monster' at either offensive guard position who's able to knock down defensive linemen and plow up to the linebackers can do that for you.

Alabama's inability to convert on third down and score in the red zone against Clemson was a big factor in the championship game in January. It cost the Tide a 15-0 season, repeat championship and a debate over whether this Alabama team was (1) the greatest of all time or (2) being overtaken by Clemson at the pinnacle of college football.

One big, strong powerful offensive lineman may make the difference, and it might all begin to happen tomorrow against Ole Miss.


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