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A year ago, Alabama was searching for nine replacements on offense, only left tackle Cam Robinson and center Ryan Kelly returning. The men who won those jobs at the two guard spots both return for the Tide this year and can be expected to be at the No. 1 spots on the depth chart when Bama begins spring practice next month.
Alphonse Taylor, a 6-5, 325-pound senior-to-be, came to Alabama expecting to be a defensive lineman, but was moved to offense early in his career. He was a back-up to Anthony Steen and Leon Brown for a couple of years, then took over the starting job last year at right guard.
Ross Pierschbacher, 6-4, 298, was redshirted as a true freshman in 2014, and then won the starting job at left guard for the 2015 national championship season.
Both Taylor and Pierschbacher started all 15 games for the Tide.
It has long been held that no one except the mother and the girlfriend of a guard notices his play...unless he makes a mistake. Guards, though, are important. Notice that every team has two.
Backups at offensive line positions get very little game work, and a primary job in the spring (and headed to the 2016 season) will be building depth at the position.
There is also that matter of Alabama working its offensive linemen at different positions in an attempt to get the best five on the field together. One of those who is in contention at guard is Bradley Bozeman, a 6-5, 320-pound junior. Coach Nick Saban has cited Bozeman in the past as a man capable of playing anywhere along the line of scrimmage, and in 2014 he was pressed into service as the starting center when Ryan Kelly was injured. He started in wins against Arkansas (grading 86 per cent with three knockdown blocks) and Texas A&M (90 per cent).
For now Bozeman is listed at right guard, where he played in every game last season, but he may figure into the center position this spring.
Dallas Warmack, a 6-2, 297-pound sophomore, played in eight games last season at left guard. He is the brother of former Alabama star guard Chance Warmack.
Richie Petitbon, a 6-4, 315-pound guard candidate was redshirted as a freshman. Chris Owens, 6-3, 315, is a true freshman who was an early enrollee. They will be in the mix.
Bama also has two men who are listed as returning walk-on players at guard. They are Chris Posa, 6-4, 281, senior; and Nolan Boatner, 6-2, 272, sophomore.
Alabama signed another likely guard candidate in Deonte Brown (6-4, 350) of Decatur who will enter The University for fall camp.
NEXT: We conclude our look at the candidates for the Alabama offense for spring practice with a look at the center position.