Stuart McNair

Alabama tackle says Tide offense wears down the opposition

Cam Robinson leads a good Alabama offensive line

Since Day One of the Nick Saban Alabama Era, friend and foe have been aware of Saban having a goal of developing a team that would dominate the competition, a team that others would not want to play against.

Considering the astounding Crimson Tide record under Saban, an honest assessment would be that the process is working. Not that the job is finished, but that history demonstrates the success.

And one of the most dominating in the Crimson Tide cast is three-year All-America left tackle Cam Robinson. Robinson, 6-6, 310, is this year’s winner of the Jacobs Trophy as the best blocker in the Southeastern Conference and of the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman.

Robinson was one of the Alabama offensive players meeting with media in Atlanta Wednesday prior to the Peach Bowl. Also being interviewed a few yards away was Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. It was passed along to Robinson that Howard had said the Bama offense has as a goal to make opponents quit.

“Who said that?” Robinson asked. And then Robinson was asked what the feeling was like when the opponent surrendered.

 “You can see it as the game progresses,” Robinson said. “It gets later and later in the game and you can tell when the other team is a little gassed, tired, and that’s when we start to make some of our bigger plays, our more explosive plays. Late third quarter, fourth quarter when we’ve had time to wear on people.

“Everyone’s fresh in the first quarter, but down the stretch we wear down people, wear them out, and that’s probably the most fun part of the game.

“You can see it in their eyes when they are gassed and we’re trying to break their will.”

How much satisfaction comes from that moment?

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“It’s satisfying, but you’ve got to finish the job,” Robinson said. “When you see that, you have to go to another level, turn it up even more so we can finish it out and finish the right way.”

Robinson was asked if he ever thought the opponent surrendered, but then that foe began a comeback.

He paused for a long moment, then said, “No, I can’t think of one. No. Once we get them to that point and if we keep doing what we’re doing, executing well, I think we can do a good job of closing the game out, finishing the game.”

Robinson believes the Alabama offensive line has an advantage because it gets to practice against the Alabama defensive front. “It prepares us for the game,” he said. “The guys we go against in practice are going to be the best guys we’re going to go against, period. Our defense and our front seven is incredible, the things they can do. The combination of size we have, then on the outside Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson and guys who can run around and make plays, and then the guys on the inside, Jon Allen and DaRaon Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson, doing a good job of being stout in the middle. I wouldn’t want to be an offense that had to go against them for the whole four quarters. They are an extremely good defense and they do a great job of helping us prepare and helping us see different looks.”

What would be Robinson’s advice for another offensive line going against the Crimson Tide defense?

“I don’t know what to tell them,” Robinson said.

One reason the Alabama defense is so good is because some very good defensive players – lineman Jon Allen and linebackers Reuben Foster, Tim Williams, and Ryan Anderson – elected to return for their senior seasons.
“It’s always big for you when you can get guys to come back, and improve,” Robinson said. “I think everyone who has come back – Jon, Reuben, Tim, Ryan – have all improved so much, gotten so much better than they were last year, which is hard to believe. They’ve all come back and worked on their game and gotten better in several different aspects. So it’s been great for us and also great for them.”

Alabama, 13-0 and ranked first in th e nation, will attempt to extend its season in the College Football Playoff when the Crimson Tide takes on No. 4 Washington (12-1) in the Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday.

Robisnon spent some time talking about the Washington defense the Bama offense will be up against. He described it as featuring two “stout” men on the defensive line surrounded by fast players who can “chase down” the play. He was complimentary of the Huskies team speed and being first in the nation in turnover margin.

As for comparing Washington’s defense to one Alabama has faced this season, robinson said, “Not one that comes off the top of my head. I’m sure they do things similar to a team we’ve played, but they’ve had time to game plan and adjust to what we do, so I’m pretty sure there will be some things we haven’t seen before and haven’t seen from them on film.”

Robinson believes in the “Just do your job” theory. “I’m really just focused on going out and executing what we do,” he said. “Just stay the course and do what we do and we’ll be all right.”

He is pleased with the job the offensive line has done this year with three new starters. Robinson and left guard Ross Pierschbacher are back from last year’s national championship team, but Bama has a new center in Bradley Bozeman, new right guard in Korren Kirven, and new right tackle in true freshman Jonah Williams.

96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE  “I think out offensive line has developed nicely,” Robinson said. “You know, an offensive line is a group of positions that really has to work as one and so it takes time for an offensive line to gel and form an identity. I think as the season has progressed we’ve done a good job of that.”    


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