Two Tide Linemen On Outland List

Associated Press voters from the Southeastern Conference states in 2010, should be embarrassed to not have included Alabama left tackle James Carpenter on the All-SEC first team. And the coaches barely missed the shame as Carpenter tied with another lineman to slip on to the first team.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban and the scouts of the National Football League knew better. Carpenter had an outstanding two-year career for the Crimson Tide and then was a first round NFL draft choice.

With the loss of Carpenter, Bama has some replacing to do on the offensive line. But the good news is that left tackle is the only position Alabama doesn't have a returning starter, and among the four returning starters are two who are on the watch list for the Outland Trophy in 2011.

The Outland Trophy has one weakness. It is given to the nation's top interior lineman – offense or defense. That's apples and oranges. But there is a reason for that. When the award was begun in 1946, linemen went both ways. For instance, defensive lineman Rich Glover of Nebraska won for the 1972 season, and he certainly was deserving. Some would say so was Alabama offensive lineman John Hannah.

Alabama has had Outland Trophy winners, both offensive left tackles, Chris Samuels in 1999 and Andre Smith in 2008.

This year, Alabama senior center William Vlachos and Crimson Tide junior Barrett Jones – a two-year starter at right guard who may move to left tackle this season – are among the 65 players nationwide on the Outland watch list.

Vlachos has started 27 consecutive games, earning the starting job as a third year sophomore prior to the start of the 2009 national championship season. He is expected to be on the watch list for the Rimington Award, given to the nation's top center.

Jones was a Freshman All-America as a starter on the 2009 national championship team, and was All-SEC and third team All-America last year as a sophomore. All of his starts have been at right guard, but the Academic All-America worked at left tackle in the final week of spring practice, including the A-Day Game.

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