True freshman usually don’t make an impact on the offensive line under Saban. Cam Robinson was the first to start at tackle during Saban’s time at Bama; and, barring something unforeseen, Jonah Williams will be the second.
The former five star was the #2 OT in the Class of 2016 and the #17 overall prospect. He arrived in Tuscaloosa in January (like Robinson did in 2014) and got to work. Williams started at right tackle at A-Day; and, despite some growing pains, the talent is evident.
2nd and 10: Alabama is in the gun. Williams has Ryan Anderson opposite his outside shoulder. It’s an option, so Williams leaves Anderson unblocked and moves up to the second level. He gets in position, plants himself, and engages Reuben Foster. He gets lower than Foster and uses his leverage to drive him back. Nice job against the veteran linebacker.
3rd and 6: Williams slides back and to the right to meet the rushing Anderson. He has solid footwork, but that’s about it on this play. He doesn’t get a punch in on Anderson, and he’s leaning forward when they make contact. Anderson gets his hands in on Williams, grabs, and yanks him out of the way. With the black jersey on, Cooper Bateman has no shot; and Anderson gets the sack.
2nd and 2: Williams has O.J. Howard to his right on this run play. Williams stays low and initiates contact with his hands. He stones Dalvin Tomlinson and pushes him back, keeping his feet churning. He stays with the block, too. Unfortunately for Scarbrough, Shaun Dion Hamilton reacts well and shoots the gap unblocked to drop him for a loss.
1st and 10: Williams has Tomlinson opposite him. He lets Tomlinson make first contact and gets no punch on him. He’s also playing too upright. Tomlinson swipes Williams’s arms away and gets around him. Bateman dumps it off to Hale Hentges for a decent gain, though.
2nd and 4: Williams has Tomlinson again. He takes a quick step to his left and tries to get set, keeping his head up. Tomlinson knocks a hand off him and tries a swim move; but this time, Williams recovers. He gets his right hand in Tomlinson’s armpit and his left in his chest, stopping him from getting by.
1st and 10: There’s 1:26 left before half, so everybody is expecting a pass play. Williams has Anderson to contend with this time. He slides into place quickly and takes away the outside. Anderson cuts inside, and Williams does good job of making contact with his hands and stymying him. He keeps his feet moving and knees bent, and he mirrors Anderson. Bo Scarbrough's illegal motion penalty knocks off the offense back.
2nd and 15: Williams comes off the snap quickly and slides back, staying on his toes. He catches Anderson as he’s trying to get the corner, and he forces him upfield past Bateman.
3rd and 11: Williams once again has Ryan Anderson, who has his hand in the dirt. He kicks out and is leaning forward when contact is initiated. Anderson tries to yank Williams aside, but Bo Scarbrough comes up to help. Williams recovers and keeps Anderson from coming back inside.
1st and goal: O.J. Howard is on the line next to Williams here. Williams helps Josh Casher, who’s in at right guard, and chips Tomlinson before turning to the blitzing Shaun Dion Hamilton. He launches his body into Hamilton instead of using his hands to make contact, but he shoves the defender back a couple steps and does what he’s supposed to do.
2nd and 15: The Crimson offense is in shotgun, trying to drive down the field in the waning minutes to retake the lead. Williams has Anderson on his outside shoulder. Anderson gets a good jump off the snap, and Williams doesn’t slide back quickly enough. He also drops his head and doesn’t get a punch in on Anderson, who delivers his own jolt to the offensive lineman. Williams does just enough, however, to keep Anderson away from Cooper Bateman, who fires a wobbly pass that Robert Foster drops.