Standing tall at left tackle

Soaked with sweat after a Tide scrimmage during the recently completed spring practice, Wesley Britt trudges off the field but stops when he notices the group of waiting children. <br><br>"How tall are you?" a young fan asks as Britt stoops to pose for a picture.

"Six foot eight," Britt answers back politely.

The Cullman native fields that question quite often, as his 6-8, 312-pound frame makes him one of the tallest offensive lineman to ever play for the Tide.

Britt spent this spring learning the new single-back multiple receiver offense of Mike Price and found it a challenge worthy of his abilities.

Left tackle Wesley Britt has become a mainstay of the Tide offensive line.

When new head Mike Price arrived at the Capstone, Britt made a point to show his support by driving in from Cullman with his father for the press conference. Since Price arrived during Christmas break, Britt was one of a handful of players on hand to meet their new coach.

"He's a guy who pays attention to detail on a daily basis," offensive line coach Bobby Connelly said of his junior tackle. "Wes is a natural leader."

Britt is known for his aggressive, attacking mentality on the football field. At a true 6-8 he was athletic enough to play basketball at Cullman High. He handles one of the most difficult and vital positions in all of football at left tackle, protecting Brodie Croyle's (and the other Tide QBs') blindside from onrushing defensive ends.

"He's just a big, physical athletic kid," Connelly said. "He's got a real knack for the game and is very intense."

According to Connelly, Britt's flexibility despite his 6-8 frame separates him from the pack. "He can bend his 6-8 body blocking as well as anyone I've ever seen," Connelly said.

Along with tackle Evan Mathis and guard Justin Smiley, Britt is part of a trio of talented offensive lineman who all grabbed starting spots in their redshirt freshman seasons, enabling the Tide to become one of the nation's best rushing teams in 2001. So far in his career, Britt has started 25 games. He tallied 195 knockdown blocks last season as the Tide averaged more than 213 rushing yards per game, good for 18th in the NCAA in rushing offense.

Britt and his fellow linemen honed their craft against some of the SEC's best defensive lineman on their own team, facing the likes of Jarrett Johnson, Kenny Smith, Kenny King, Antwan Odom and Kindal Moorehead every day in practice.

"We're definitely used to pressure going against these guys every day in practice since we've been here," Britt said.

Britt is working with his third coaching staff and third offensive system at the Capstone, going from the option-oriented rushing attack last season to the one-back, multiple wideout sets of Mike Price. As a result, the unusually aggressive Britt has has been forced in the spring to temper his aggression, anchoring in pass blocking.

As powerful as he is tall, Britt is a pre-season favorite for All-SEC honors.

Last season, the attacking tendencies of the line led by Britt made the option attack led by Tyler Watts one of the most feared on the gridiron. "(Last season) we learned a lot about mental toughness and taking someone's head off when we're blocking," Britt said. "The transition can be hard, because in pass-blocking you just can't go after someone. You have to anchor yet keep it physical."

According to Connelly, despite Britt's newness to the system, he prefers an overly aggressive athlete to a strictly finesse guy anytime. "Britt is an aggressive-minded person and I'd much rather have a trained killer than a finesse guy," Connelly said.

Britt also noted the challenge of run blocking in a single back scheme. With no fullback the margin for error on blocking assignments by the offensive line can be slimmer than Kate Moss.

"You're definitely on an island," Britt said. "It definitely gives you a chance to showcase your talent."

What kind of legacy does Britt want to leave at the Capstone when he leaves the field for the final time?

"I want people to remember me as the most physical offensive tackle that has ever played here," Britt said. "My goal is to be remembered in the same breath as John Hannah and Chris Samuels--as one of the best linemen ever to play here."


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