02 August 2008
| William Vlachos - #73 – OL – 6-1 – 305 lbs. – Birmingham, AL – Mountain Brook HS – Redshirt
When Tide players and coaches talk about guys that impress in the weight room, there is one name that is always mentioned – William Vlachos. When a player has that attitude as a true freshman, it bodes well for his potential to progress well at the collegiate level.
Initially, under Mike Shula
, William was set to “greyshirt” during the 2007 season, deferring enrollment until January of 2008. The numbers worked themselves out over the summer, and Nick Saban
had William report with the class of 2007. It was assumed that he would redshirt, but that almost changed when starting Center Antoine Caldwell
was suspended 4 games due to improper use of textbooks. Thankfully the coaching staff resisted the urge to plug William in late in the season, and he’ll still have 4 years of eligibility.
: A quick glance at the Alabama depth chart shows William buried at Center behind Rimington Award Nominee Antoine Caldwell
. There aren’t many better Centers in the nation than Caldwell, so it would seem highly unlikely that William would be able to crack his way into the starting lineup.
Things aren’t always as they seem, however. While Caldwell
is Bama’s best Center, he might also be Bama’s best option at Left Guard and Right Tackle. With Right Tackle unsettled, and last season’s RT Mike Johnson
now at Left Guard, there could be position changes coming for several players across the front if Drew Davis
, Taylor Pharr
or Tyler Love
are unable to lock down the position.
If Johnson is moved back to Right Tackle, the most likely candidate for playing time at Left Guard would be Caldwell
. That would likely precipitate Evan Cardwell
moving back from Right Guard to Center, which would set up a battle for playing time between he and William. And if that is the case, I expect William to win that battle.
The best case scenario for the Tide is that one of the current Right Tackles locks down that position, which would allow Johnson
to stay at Left Guard (his natural position) and Caldwell
at Center (his natural position, and his most likely NFL position). If that happens then William likely won’t play a whole lot in 2008.
2009 is a different story however, as the Center position will be open for competition. Incoming Freshman Barrett Jones was ranked by some as the #1 Center prospect in America last season, and Cardwell
will still factor into the discussion. But given the fact that I think it is a possibility that we could see William starting at Center in 2008, I would list him as the leading candidate to be Bama’s next starting Center.