23 July 2008
| David Ross - #74 – OL – 6-4 – 297 lbs. – Homewood, AL – Homewood HS – 1 Varsity Letter
David is tremendously versatile interior lineman, capable of playing at either Guard position, as well as at Center. He has already made his way onto the FG and PAT units, playing in all 13 games in 2007.
He is currently listed #2 on the depth chart at Left Guard behind Mike Johnson
. While Johnson
was a starter last season, it was at Right Tackle, so while it is accurate to list him as a returning starter, his hold on the position is not as firm as most guys with that title. Johnson did spend all spring at Guard, after spending a full year there prior to his move to Tackle, so the learning curve is not as steep for him as for most players.
That will make the climb towards significant playing time in the offensive set a lot steeper for David, though not impossible to climb. Given the fact that the vacated Right Tackle position is far from settled, the possibility of Johnson
moving back there could open a door for David to earn playing time. Of course, that move could precipitate Antoine Caldwell
moving from Center to Guard, which would make David’s chances even slimmer.
David made great strides during his redshirt freshmen season to get on the field in every game. That continued development is important as Alabama is not blessed with great depth on the OL. The fact that he can play any of the 3 interior line spots makes him a very important player for Bama in 2008 and beyond.
It is unlikely at this time that he’ll be called on to start barring an injury. With Johnson
, & Marlon Davis
manning the 3 positions, there is tremendous experience ahead of him, likely too much to see him climb into a starting role.
If injury strikes, however, there is very little experienced depth at the Guard position. In fact, the only other back-up Guard with experience is Evan Cardwell
, who has all of his experience at Center. Given Bama’s lack of depth at Tackle, any injury along the front 5 could cause several position moves to happen. In that scenario a guy capable of playing multiple positions will get a 1st look to move up.
and M. Davis
both being Seniors and Andre Smith
a likely early entrant into the NFL Draft, the Offensive Line will get quite an overhaul in 2009. The continuing development of David through the 2008 season, regardless of playing time will be a key for the following season.
Regardless of how much time he sees in the regular offensive set, expect to see him play an important role again on special teams. There isn’t a lot of opportunity to impress the casual fan on the FG unit, but poor play there can certainly allow kicks to get blocked, which catches the eye of everyone.