Bradley Bozeman had the unenviable task of replacing first round draft pick Ryan Kelly at center. The 3 star OL recruit had arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2013 after initially being expected to grayshirt. A spot opened up the summer after National Signing Day, and Bozeman jumped at the chance.
He redshirted his freshman year before becoming Kelly’s back-up. Bozeman started two games for him in 2014 and again backed-up Kelly in 2015. He won the starting job in the spring of 2016 and never let go of it.
1st and 10: Alabama’s in the pistol with twins left and Hale Hentges and O.J. Howard on the left. Damien Harris is the back. ArDarius Stewart motions left to right, but the hand off goes to Harris. Bozeman snaps and awkwardly lumbers to the second level. He just lunges at the linebacker, completely off balance. Bozeman ends up on the ground, barely affecting the defender, who joins in the tackle of Harris.
1st and 10: Okay, ignore the result of the play. The corner blitz after Ridley’s motion blows up this running play, but Bozeman has nothing to do with that. He snaps and steps to his left. Bozeman gets low and uses his legs to power himself right into the defensive tackle’s chest. He drives the defender backwards, standing him up. By the time the whistle blows, Bozeman is still engaged 6 yards downfield.
3rd and 1: Hurts is in the pistol with Bo Scarbrough behind him. O.J. Howard is the H-back on the left, and he comes back across the line to block the linebacker. However, he has to dodge Bozeman, who got shoved back by the nose tackle. The defender gets under Bozeman’s pads, gets his arms inside Bozeman’s, and stands him up, fully extending his arms. After a little swim move, Bozeman is beaten; and Scarbrough gets hit before the line of scrimmage. Bo’s power lets him churn forward enough to pick up the first down, but it’s no thanks to Bozeman.
1st and 10: Hurts is back in the gun joined by Damien Harris, though Harris swings out left. The offensive line blocks like it’s a run, and Hurts takes a step forward like he’s going to keep. He goes with the quick pop pass to Howard, however, for a 6 yard gain. Bozeman’s role on this play was to help Ross Pierschbacher with the defensive tackle then move up to the second level to take on the linebacker. He chips the tackle but whiffs on the linebacker and ends up on the ground. It doesn’t ultimately matter, but it shows Bozeman’s struggles when having to go to the second level.
2nd and 1: Bama is in the pistol with 12 personnel (1 running back, two tight ends). It’s a simple run up the middle, and Bozeman’s job is to get to the linebacker at the second level (uh oh). This time, though, things go well for him. He takes a couple confident steps while staying square. He gets set and gets his hand in the linebacker’s chest. Bozeman holds the block just long enough to keep the defender from getting over to Damien Harris, who has to be stopped by the safeties.
2nd and 5: Hurts is in shotgun with Bo Scarbrough as the back, and it’s another handoff. Bozeman snaps it and manages to get under the defensive tackle. With the leverage, he’s able to turn him and drive him into the ground. Scarbrough scampers through the hole Bozeman has paved. Only a good play by Daylon Mack from the back side prevents Bo from getting to the secondary.
2nd and 12: Hurts is again in the gun, now with Josh Jacobs on his left hip. Bozeman snaps the ball and drops back, keeping a wide base and scanning to see which way he needs to help. #98 makes an inside move on Ross Pierschbacher, so Bozeman turns that way. He gets in the defensive tackle’s armpit and fling him (and Pierschbacher) to the ground. Please ignore the Hurts overthrow to the open Ridley.
2nd and 10: The Crimson Tide is in the pistol with Damien Harris at running back. Bozeman takes a step to the right after the snap and engages the defensive tackle, Greg Gilmore. Once again, hand placement matters. Bozeman’s arms are inside Gilmore’s, and he wins the block. He drives Gilmore out of the way, and a pulling Cam Robinson takes out the middle linebacker. Harris has a hole, and he shoots through it.
1st and 10: Hurts is under center, and Bama has two tight ends on the right. It looks like a run, and Ridley comes in motion pre-snap. Hurts fakes the handoff, though, and looks deep. Bozeman got low after the snap and got under Gilmore. I sound like a broken record, but he gets his hands right in Gilmore’s chest. He also maintains a wide base and keeps his feet moving. Gilmore doesn’t stand a chance, and he gets no push or anything against Bozeman. Hurts hits Stewart deep for a huge gain.
3rd and 2: Okay, Bozeman doesn’t really do anything on this play. He blocks the backside defensive tackle. It’s not pretty, but it doesn’t have to be. I just wanted to include this Bo touchdown because it’s awesome.
2nd and 6: The whole line moves to the right on the snap for the QB sweep. Both Pierschbacher and Korren Kirven pick up the defensive tackles, and Bozeman has to get up to the second level. He does so with no problem despite the extra bit of running involved. He gets in perfect position and cut blocks the middle linebacker, knocking him off balance.