Alex Givens and Hugh Freeze/USA Today Images

Opportunity knocked for the redshirt frosh OL and Alex Givens was ready

You never know what will happen during the course of a football season, so redshirt freshman OT Alex Givens kept himself ready for action. A couple of injuries thrust Givens into the starting right tackle slot and he never flinched, performing at a high level against quality competition.

All last spring, redshirt freshman Alex Givens was the number one left tackle.

Then Rod Taylor healed up and freshman Greg Little came on board and both were ready for August practice.

Alex was moved to right tackle in a backup role to Sean Rawlings.

Then, Robert Conyers, the starting center, started having health issues and Taylor went down with a high ankle sprain. Sueednly, Rawlings moved into the center slot, leaving Givens the starter at right tackle and Little the main man at left tackle.

Against Texas A&M, they both played 93 offensive snaps, every offensive snap (89) and four special teams snaps, a staggering amount of reps for anyone, let alone two freshmen against some of the best defensive ends in the league.

Alex Givens and Jordan Sims

"They had a few technique issues,' said OL Coach Matt Luke, "but they both played their tails off. I couldn't be happier or prouder of them. These are two guys who were thrown in the fire a little ahead of when they should have been, but they have both produced like veterans who had been there before.

"Neither of them has  been overwhelmed or in awe of their job. They have great futures."

Givens is pleased with the way he has progressed.

"There is always room for improvement, but I work hard every day to get better at my craft and I feel I have done that," said Givens, a young man with an economy of words but substance in what he says. "The speed of the game was hard at the beginning, but I have caught up with that now.

"It's all about the little things now. Fine-tuning the little things and keep working the fundamentals. We do that every day and it pays off."

He has enjoyed the challenge of playing against some very talented defensive players.

"What a learning experience," he continued. "To go against great athletes, it's why you want to play in the SEC. It's really going to help me for the future. I can see that I belong here on this level and I will only get better."

Givens was impressed with fellow freshman QB Shea Patterson in the Rebs' big 29-28 comeback win over Texas A&M last weekend.

"He was so calm out there," Alex said. "He led us to victory. We really had no major busts with him guiding us and that's pretty impressive. This was a really good win for us. We worked hard to get it."

Alex said the communication on the OL has been very good despite the injuries and having played with three different quarterbacks.

"We are so close as a group. We hang out with each other all the time and that helps us and makes things easier," he noted. "We have a good chemistry. It just hasn't been that hard for us because we are all on the same page.

"Coach Luke is a great coach who really stresses unity, communication and fundamentals. I think it shows with the way we have played this year even though we are very, very young. We are going to be very good in the future, I believe."

When opportunity knocked, Alex Givens opened the door.


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