Depth Poor At Tackle

While the injury to Wesley Britt was tough on Alabama in 2003, it could be the reason that Britt is back to play on the Crimson Tide's offensive line in 2004. Britt suffered a broken leg against Tennessee and missed the remainder of the season and spring practice rehabilitating from the resulting surgery. But the injury meant that Britt had to return for his final year at Bama in order to impress NFL scouts.

Wesley Britt, a 6-8, 305-pound fifth-year senior, is expected to be at or near full strength and back in his left tackle position for a fourth consecutive year. Meanwhile, Alabama's other three-year starter at offensive tackle, Evan Mathis, has moved to left guard.

With Britt absent in the spring, 6-5, 275-pound redshirt freshman Chris Capps got the majority of work at the important left tackle spot in the spring, and Capps is expected to be the back-up there.

An incoming freshman, Cody Davis (6-7, 275) will probably be penciled in as the third man at left tackle.

Coach Mike Shula thought that Kyle Tatum, a 6-7, 282-pound sophomore, had a chance to earn a starting position at defensive tackle this fall. Tatum, who saw playing time in nine games and started two (Arkansas and Georgia) as a redshirt freshman defensive tackle last year, won't be starting on the defensive line, but after an intensive spring regimen, he will start out as number one right tackle on the offensive line.

Mark Sanders has not seen varsity action in his first two seasons at Alabama, but the 6-7, 310-pounder will likely be the number two right tackle when fall camp begins.

As on the left side, a freshman could figure in the depth chart at right tackle. B.J. Stabler, a 6-4, 291-pound first-year man, is third on the depth chart at right tackle. Stabler was an excellent blocker in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and showed his good footwork playing tight end (blocking tight end) for the winning Alabama squad.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a series of essays on what Alabama might reasonably expect from each position in order to have a successful 2004 season.

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