Senior says there is plenty of talent left

There is no point in trying to sugarcoat it. The loss of pre-season All-America tackle Wesley Britt will sting. But the remaining Tide players believe they can still get the job done.

"Losing a guy like Wesley will be tough," starting right guard Dennis Alexander said. "But I believe we're strong enough that we can bounce back and continue trying to be dominant."

It may be a cliche', but in football when one player goes down another must be ready to step up. Atlas Herrion took over at left tackle and played well for most of the game. And later in overtime when Alexander himself went out with an ankle sprain, Danny Martz took over.

"Atlas and Danny stepped up and played a big part in the game last week," Alexander said. "As a unit we still have a lot of confidence."

The past two seasons Alexander's game-day role was mainly that of cheerleader, but this year he's been an important piece of Bama's offensive line.

What about his ankle problem?

"It's going good," Alexander replied. "I sprained my ankle a little bit last week, but it's coming along fine. It just got rolled up on a play down there near the endzone. It wasn't anything real big."

As Wesley Britt was being carried off the field, despite the severe pain from his broken leg, the big junior pumped his fist to the cheers of the partisan crowd. "Don't worry about me," Britt told his teammates.

"Wesley was a great leader and one of the best guys we had up front," Alexander said. "We've got other great leaders on the offensive line. We've got Justin Smiley and Atlas Herrion."

In a normal game, an every-down offensive linemen might expect to take 50-60 snaps. But during the five-overtime Tennessee marathon, that number approached 100.

Alexander commented, "We come out every week and say ‘However long it takes to win the game, that's how long we've got to play.' That was the mindset we came out with (against Tennessee). Unfortunately we came up a little bit short. But I believe everybody on the team gave everything they had.

"We didn't get the win, but we gained a lot of confidence from the game."

He's started all season at right guard, but three years ago as a freshman Alexander played tackle for the Tide. Britt's injury leaves Bama thin at offensive tackle, but that doesn't mean Alexander will change positions.

"I don't know; I could move or I could not," he said laughing. "Probably not."

Dennis Alexander has started every game at right guard this season for the Tide.

Expect Alabama's starting lineup against Mississippi State to include Alexander and Smiley at guard, Evan Mathis and Herrion at tackle and J.B. Closner or Matt Lomax at center. Martz will backup both guard spots, while Lomax could "swing" to either tackle spot if needed.

Alexander acknowledges the challenge presented by an ever-shrinking depth chart, but he believes the Tide has sufficient athletes to do the job.

"We've got enough," he said. "Our conditioning is good. That's what it's going to come down to the last four games--our being in great condition. Working hard this past summer is really going to pay off for us.

"We've got great athletes on the line, and I believe we're going to continue to be successful."


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