Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Crimson Countdown: Alphonse Taylor
By Alex Scarborough
During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.
From No. 1 Dee Hart to No. 99 Brandon Ivory, TideNation is evaluating the Alabama roster numerically. View the entire Crimson Countdown series.
Expectations for 2013: Taylor didn't waste his redshirt season on the Alabama campus. Instead, the former four-star prospect spent the year learning a somewhat unfamiliar position -- offensive guard. The Mobile, Ala., native started out his Alabama career on the defensive side at nose guard but was quickly shifted to the offensive side when it became clear that there was a need for depth in the interior of the line. Now at 6-foot-5 and a whopping 335 pounds, Taylor is in a position to compete for a spot among the top reserves where he could fill in for either Anthony Steen or Arie Kouandjio, the projected starters at right and left guard, respectively.
Best-case scenario: In full pads, Taylor is the spitting image of former UA great Chance Warmack. Taylor is a hair taller and 15 pounds heavier, but if he were to roll up the waist of his jersey, he could successfully show off his belly in a move that some call "Warmacking." Outside of fashion sense, Taylor has the potential of his lookalike. Warmack called Taylor a "really athletic guy" that's "going to be a really dominant player in the future." Another season of grooming might be in order, but, if and when Taylor gets a grasp on the position, he'll have a chance to be the same physically imposing guard Warmack was from 2009-12.
Worst-case scenario: Whether Taylor's tools translate to the offensive guard is anyone's guess. One would have thought that after a year of learning the position, he could have entered spring camp as an option to replace Warmack at left guard. Instead, Kouandjio is No. 1 in terms of reps there with Kellen Williams not far behind. Taylor will be in the mix moving forward, but he must first master the technical aspects of the position to win over offensive line coach Mario Cristobal.
Future impact: Taylor provides Alabama with a number of options moving forward. With four years of eligibility remaining, it's a possibility that if offensive guard doesn't work out, he could move back over to defense. Brandon Ivory and Darren Lake are entrenched at the nose guard position, but you can never have too much depth at a spot where players routinely take a beating.