Alabama still looking for Anthony Steen's replacement

Anniston StarDecember 24, 2013 

LSU Alabama Football

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2011, file photo, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) looks for a receiver as offensive linesman Anthony Steen (61) blocks in the first half of an NCAA college football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Second-ranked Alabama are slated to host No. 1 LSU on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- With the majority of bowl practice behind them, Alabama is still experimenting with replacements for 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 back up 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," Crimson Tide coach 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

Alabama coach Nick Saban said there are a lot of players are a "little nicked up," but no one is "out."

Offensive lineman Leon Brown hurt his foot and missed a couple of days of practice. 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 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.

Quick hits

During his Sunday news conference, Alabama coach Nick 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.

"I'd like to use this as an opportunity because it will probably be the last time I get the opportunity," Saban said. "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. 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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