Total Domination

Alabama's offensive line has endured about as much skepticism over the past month and a half as any around college football, but if the South Carolina defense was skeptical entering Saturday's game they soon became big believers in the Tide OL.

Bama right tackle Kyle Tatum, still bubbling with emotion, talked with a purpose about his unit's new found confidence after the game.

"We knew it was coming," Tatum said. "It was just a matter of time before we put everything together and it's great. It's great for this program – big SEC win on the road.

"I think they played Georgia well last week. We kind of see where we are. You can't really tell by the score until you play a team, but I think we can get a glimpse of where we are heading and what kind of season we're going to have."

South Carolina safety Ko Simpson got a more up-close look than the CBS television cameras, and even though he played an All-SEC caliber type game with 11 tackles, he came away stunned by Alabama's dominance at the line of scrimmage.

"I was very surprised," Simpson said. "Alabama wanted it bad enough. They ran the ball down our throats. It's frustrating and embarrassing. We sure didn't play like we expected."

Bama's revived rushing ability seemed to start in the second half against Southern Miss 10 days ago. The Tide asserted their ground game early in the third quarter, and salted away the game in the fourth quarter with what seemed at the time to be a rather meaningless drive. Even so, the Tide offense controlled the ball for nearly eight minutes, moving almost exclusively on the ground.

It was after that drive ended with a Tim Castille fumble that Tatum came off the field and declared to his team "Total Domination!" by his offensive line.

At the time, the question was whether that domination could be duplicated against a Southeastern Conference opponent.

Now the question shifts to whether the Tide OL can give that kind of performance consistently against even top-level teams. If those are answered affirmitively, Alabama is a very scary team.

"It's just awesome," Tatum said. "Give a lot of credit to our coaches because we had a great game plan. We just wanted to push it down their throats and we did. We had the right attitude all week at practice. We've got to keep carrying it over. We come out with the right mentality each week like that we're going to get it done. There's no doubt in my mind about that."

A lot of the momentum gain can be attributed to inexperienced players become more experienced, first-year starters Chris Capps, Antoine Caldwell, Marlon Davis (in the second game) and B.J. Stabler to name a few.

"I can see myself, this time last year it started clicking for me," Tatum said. "It's just about consistency and going out there and doing it each and every week. You have no choice but to get better each and every week because they push us to the limit."

"It tells me that maybe we can get this thing and get some momentum and just keep getting better each week. It's going to be nasty."

Tatum's experience tells him the Tide line must get better still, but the attention has hopefully shifted to a more detailed look as the fundamentals become more second nature.

"We have to keep getting better. You never know what they're going to throw at you on Saturday," he said. "I want to be the type of player that I can be consistent every down and be an All-SEC and All-American type guy. That's not being selfish, that's just where I want to be and I want to make our offensive line one of the best in the country."


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