- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Alabama's date with Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship, we will review the season for a key Crimson Tide player or coach and attempt to project what’s next for him. Today we’ll look at right guard Anthony Steen.
No. 61 Anthony Steen
Blocked for two 1,000-yard tailbacks
Role in 2012: Steen came back from injury a season ago to play and start in all 13 games at right guard in 2012.
The good: The junior was a quiet force in the interior of the offensive line. He didn't grab headlines like center Barrett Jones, left guard Chance Warmack or right tackle D.J. Fluker. His potential wasn't hailed like that of sophomore Cyrus Koundjio. Nonetheless, Steen was effective and helped Alabama form one of the best offensive lines in all of college football. The Crimson Tide ranked 20th nationally in rushing offense (224.6 yards per game) and 15th in red zone efficiency.
The bad: If there's one area in which the offensive line struggled, it was pass protection. Alabama ranked 53rd in sacks allowed, letting quarterback AJ McCarron go down more often than he should. For that, Steen shares in some of the blame. Whether it was a lack of communication or execution, defenders were able to get into the backfield far too often.
Crystal ball: It's likely Steen will remain an interior lineman next year, but he could switch sides as Warmack heads for the NFL draft in a few months. Alabama might see an opportunity to pair two experienced linemen in Steen and Kouandjio and allow T.J. Yeldon and the rest of the stable of tailbacks to run left next season. Sophomore Arie Kouandjio, who served as the second-team right guard this year, could slide in to replace Steen should he move positions.
3dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon