Steen 'Old Man' Of Offensive Line

Anthony Steen was leaving the building Monday, and not moving very quickly. He had just completed interviews with reporters following a tough practice the first day back from spring break.



Anthony Steen seemed pleased that he had given a handful of sportswriters a chuckle following Alabama's fifth practice of the spring. There are a handful of "Anthony"s on the Crimson Tide football team, but not all go by Anthony.

Anthony Orr does. But not A.J. McCarron or Tana Patrick.

So is Anthony Steen called anything besides Anthony?

"In high school, a couple of my friends called me Antonio and Steen and Big A, things like that," Steel said. "A lady last year kept calling me ‘Steen Roller.' I'd see it every day, before we eat on Fridays before a game. She's holding a sign up saying ‘Steen Roller.' Me and the guys are just laughing, cracking up. I guess that will stick now."

Outside the interview room, Steen said, "I started not to tell that, but we get a kick out of it and I thought you might think it was funny."

Steen and his teammates probably were looking for something to smile about themselves after the Monday practice. Alabama Coach Nick Saban obviously was not pleased with it.

Steen acknowledged that he was tired. "I think it was more of we hadn't had any kind of hot weather yet," he said. The temperature had climbed to near 80 in Tuscaloosa Monday for Bama's fifth practice of the spring, but first since The University's spring break started nine days earlier. Steen said his spring break was spent in his north Mississippi hometown of Lambert and "it was cold. The coldest day was 25 degrees. Today, it felt hot, and we just weren't used to it. I definitely feel it right now."

Steen is the old man of the offensive line, a two-year starter at right guard. Things are a lot different than they had been with veterans Barrett Jones (four-year starter) at center, Chance Warmack (three-year starter) at left guard, and D.J. Fluker (three-year starter) at right tackle. Steen is joined by returning (one-year) starter Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle as the only first-stringers on the offensive line.

"It's a big challenge," the 6-3, 309-pound upcoming senior said. "Last year everybody was saying we were the best offensive line in the country. It's going to be difficult making our own way, but I think we're looking forward to it."

Making their own way proved difficult on Monday.

"Oh, yeah," Steen said. "We ended up having to restart one period just because we weren't going full speed.

"I felt like I was. I know it's not going to look like it tomorrow on film.

"But everybody was definitely feeling the heat."

Steen said that players have to get back into shape by Saturday, when Bama has its first scrimmage of spring practice at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"Spring break killed a lot of us," Steen said."In muy mind, we've got to get in shape and then worry about fundamentals and footwork.

"We were supposed to work out two to three times during spring break, and some of the overweight guys were supposed to eat healthy and things like that. We try to eat right every day. I'm going to try to eat a salad tonight, for sure, before workouts so I can have a little more energy tomorrow."

Alabama's offensive linemen are working under a new coach this year. Mario Cristobal came in from Miami after Jeff Stoutland left for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.

"I like him," Steen said of Cristobal. "He's a good coach. He's bringing new things to the table and we're adjusting to it." He said those things included "a different kind of footwork, pass sets and stuff that we weren't doing before."

Also new for Steen is the leadership role that comes with being the most experienced man on the offense line.

Steen said, "It's difficult, because I've always been a guy that's been around, just do my job and that's it. Right now, I'm just trying to make sure all the young guys know what they're doing so, when the time comes and they come in the game, they'll know what to do."

Getting the word from "Steen Roller."

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