Expect Some Good Luck

Some call Alabama's defensive philosophy "bend but don't break," usually only when they're being critical. Others might refer to it as "gap-responsibility," especially those who like that sort of style.

The opposite of bend but don't break must be something like what Hawaii does under Defensive Coordinator Jerry Glanville. People who like that type of defense would call it an attacking style. It has another name, too. Unsound.

All that goes to explain why Alabama's center, redshirt sophomore Antoine Caldwell, said that Alabama's offense needs to get lucky to an extent in its play calling to make big offensive plays in its season opener Saturday evening.

He expects Hawaii to be blitzing from all quarters, and to be looking for big plays and turnovers.

"They're not really a gap sound defense," Caldwell said Tuesday. "They run two people through a gap, or three people through a gap. You really have to get lucky on them sometimes as far as play calling."

In its simplest terms, it's "Bend, don't break" versus "Do or die." And Alabama should have plenty of chances to get lucky with its play calling.

"I kind of compare them to a team like LSU or Southern Miss," Caldwell said. "They blitz a lot of first and second down."

Its not the schemes so much as the players who determine the outcome of a football game, however, and Caldwell said he is "as confident as ever" about the abilities of the offensive line.

Despite having four of five starters from last year on the team, Alabama will have different starters at four different position. The official depth chart released on Tuesday lists the first unit as:
LT – Andre Smith
LG – Justin Britt
C – Antoine Caldwell
RG – B.J. Stabler
RT – Chris Capps

Last season's starters through most of the season were:
LT – Chris Capps
LG – Antoine Caldwell
C – J.B. Closner
RG – B.J. Stabler
RT – Kyle Tatum

Caldwell doesn't think the shuffling will hurt. "If it was a player that didn't know have the assignment down we might worry about chemistry," he said. And he gave an unequivocal vote of confidence to Smith.

"I think (Andre) came in here ready," Caldwell said. "I wasn't ever worried about him physically. Mentally, he's a sharp guy and he learned fast. When you're that big and halfway athletic you can play."

Caldwell said, "A lot of people are looking at us as being a strength of the team. I don't think we'd want it any other way. We've got some business we still need to take care of within ourselves from the Auburn game last year."

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