Big Step

Right Tackle Sean Rawlings, Right Guard Jordan Sims and Left Guard Javon Patterson all tasted their first Southeastern Conference action in as tough a venue as possible - Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. How did they do? Rawlings answers that question and more.

"I thought the whole offensive line handled things pretty well," said Sean. "It was definitely a big step up, but we hung tough, I thought. Communication was the most difficult thing, but we did a great job with that.

"I am very proud of the way we played. Alabama had a lot of big, strong, fast defensive linemen. It was a challenge, but as I said last week, we go against our defensive line every day and that helped prepare us for Alabama for sure. The guys we line up against in practice as as explosive as anyone."

Rawlings said the mindset during the game never changed.

"Whether we were ahead by three touchdowns or one TD, we wer always looking to score the next time we went out there," he continued. "We were aggressive the whole night. At 30-24, I think some offenses would try to get a few first downs and then give the ball back, but we scored two more times by being aggressive. We scored with two great pass plays.

"The momentum shifts did not affect us at all, either in our favor or theirs, and that's a good sign of offensive consistency and an aggressive mindset."

The offense played only 65 snaps because of the quick strike show they exhibited, but Rawlings said it was still "a grind."

"When you are hitting on guys that big for that long, when every snap is high intensity, it can wear you down, but we lasted and were pretty strong at the end actually," Rawlings noted.

Rawlings has been playing next to Justin Bell and Rod Taylor mostly, but in the Bama game, both got hurt and Sims came in at right guard.

"Jordan came in and did a great job. He helped me out a lot. It is going to be fun playing with him the next four years. He's big and strong and he's ready to play. He was a little overwhelmed at first, but after a couple of snaps, he was great," Sean added.

Sean is not concerned with any kind of letdown from the big win in Tuscaloosa.

"We are a mature team. We have trashed that game and are focused totally on Vanderbilt now," he said. "That's easier said that done sometimes with everyone slapping you on the back, but as I said, this team is mature."

Sean said Vandy's edge rushers are "very good."

"We can't fool around with them. I know they have struggled some the last two years, but they have talent. Their edge rushers are fast and athletic and they have a good scheme," Rawlings stated. "They will be a challenge - every school in the SEC is and you better know that going in."

Bottom line?

"There is plenty we can improve on - plenty," he closed. "We have a lot to clean up and we want to get better daily. I'm proud of the young guys, but we have a long way to go and nothing is going to get easier.

"We have decent depth, but we need to stay healthy and get the nicked guys back. Other than that, I feel good."

Remember the names - Rawlings, Patterson, Sims. They will be the cornerstone of the Rebel offensive line for a long time coming.


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