Alabama notebook: Tide still figuring out who will replace Steen's replacement
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Dec 23, 2013 | 2045 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three-year starting guard Anthony Steen with quarterback AJ McCarron after a big win over LSU. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Three-year starting guard Anthony Steen with quarterback AJ McCarron after a big win over LSU. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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TUSCALOOSA — With the majority of bowl practices behind the Crimson Tide, Alabama still is experimenting with replacements for injured right guard Anthony Steen.

The potential candidates include Kellen Williams, Leon Brown and Alphonse Taylor. True freshman Grant Hill spent a few days at the position before moving back to right tackle.

Williams is a fifth-year senior who can play every position along the line. Brown was recently moved to guard from tackle. Taylor has been listed as Steen’s backup throughout the year.

“Right guard, is, you know we tried Leon Brown in there and he did a good job in there. Shank (Taylor) did a good job in there, Kellen Williams has been doing a good job in there,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “Really those three guys, probably, one of the three of those guys will end up playing right guard provided we stay healthy everywhere else. So that’s kind of how that’s going right now.”

Right tackle Austin Shepherd said it will be weird not having his best friend next to him on the line.

“I’m used to being around him all the time now,” Shepherd said. “It’s definitely different because you have to get used to that guy’s different steps because me and Steen pretty much didn’t have to talk. We could just look at each other and know what we were going to do. Now it’s different having someone (else) there because you have to get used to their footwork, how they set up a block, things of that nature.”

INJURY UPDATE: Saban said a lot of Tide players are a “little nicked up,” but no one is “out.”

Brown hurt his foot and missed a couple of days of practice. Defensive back Deion Belue (hamstring) has been limited and also missed a couple of days. Safeties HaHa Clinton-Dix (knee) and Landon Collins have been working in black, non-contact jerseys throughout the week.

Collins said he sprained his ankle, but should be fine for the game.

Defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson (knee) and safety Nick Perry (shoulder) have both returned to practice as the next step of their rehab process. Both have had season-ending surgeries and will not play in the bowl game. Tomlinson is a redshirt freshman. Perry, a senior, will receive a medical redshirt and return to the team for the 2014 season.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: During his Sunday news conference, Saban took the time to wish everyone a happy holiday season. It was the final time Saban will speak with reporters before the team departs for the Sugar Bowl on Friday.

“We have a lot of great relationships at the University of Alabama and throughout the state and a lot of people that are great fans and supporters,” Saban said. “Certainly, we appreciate all that you’ve done for the University of Alabama, but I’d also like to wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday season.

“I hope God blesses you and your family so you really have a happy holiday. The holidays are a great time for people to get together and show appreciation for relationships you have with your family and your friends. Certainly, something that we all should look forward to especially at Christmas. Wishing everybody a happy holiday season.”
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