Bell 'Nkemdiched' But OK

When Robert Nkemdiche scored on a one-yard plunge against Fresno State last Saturday, he went over the top of RG Justin Bell, leaving Bell with a battle scar, but not one big enough to keep him out of the upcoming game in Tuscaloosa against Alabama.

"I've got to learn to get out of the way," Bell laughed. "Robert is a big guy. He ran up behind me on the play he scored on and I was pushing a guy out of the way and he ran into the back of me, tweaking my ankle, but I'm fine."

With Bell OK, and Coach Hugh Freeze claiming in his Monday press conference that Center Robert Conyers should be OK for Alabama this Saturday in Tuscaloosa, there is only one thing hanging over the offensive line's head - the fate of Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil, but Justin says the Rebels are dealing with it.

"We have good chemistry on this OL. We are all friends in our room, on and off the field. We know things about each other - how to treat each other the right way," Justin stated. "It is tough not having a brother out there with us on Saturday, but he's practicing and is in our room and on the sidelines helping us.

"We pray for him every day and, at the end of the day, that's all we can do - support him and keep playing as hard as we can until we get him back."

Bell believes the lineup without Laremy has done well.

"Sean Rawlings has gotten a lot of reps at right tackle and is doing a nice job. Fahn Cooper is playing in Laremy's spot and is doing real well. He is a versatile player and this is not new to him - he played there some last year when Laremy was injured. He is fine," Bell noted. "We know this will be the biggest challenge Sean and Javon Patterson have ever had, but we will get ready to be physical.

"We are telling those guys who have never played against Alabama that it's going to be all-out every snap and you have to fight to move those guys around. I think they get the picture."

Justin anticipates running the offense with a silent count a good bit of the game, something that Bell believes is fine tuned.

"I don't think it will be an issue if we go with that due to crowd noise. We have been doing that a lot to get ready. We will be fine, I feel," Bell continued.

There is a possibility that Conyers may get some time at right tackle. In that case, Bell and Ben Still will get the center snaps.

"We will both be ready for that," he stated. "Coach (Matt) Luke is going to put the best players out there and I think we have more tools in our tool box this year than we have in the past. If I need to play center some, I'm ready."

So far, Justin is happy with the run game after two games.

"We are getting more push than we have in the past. I think it's just a mindset we have developed since last season. We are undefeated when we gain 200 or more yards on the ground. That tells you how important it is to rush the ball," he added. "We have to give our RBs some room to operate.

"Alabama is so good. We respect their defense and we respect their run defense, but we feel we can play with them. If we take care of our business, we will be OK."

Justin has also liked how the offense has accelerated the first two games.

"I love the tempo we are playing with now. I hope we continue that. It can give you an edge against a defense because they cannot send in as many substitutions or personnel groupings and it can wear people down," he closed. "I trust our coaches. If they want to go slow, I know there is a reason, but I love it when we go fast."

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