Inexperienced left side of Alabama football’s OL embracing opportunity in fall camp

Tyler Booker believes his arrival in Tuscaloosa triggered something within Terrence Ferguson II, or ‘Ferg,’ as he’s called by his teammates.
Last fall, Booker came in as a four-star, top-100 prospect on the offensive line and quickly worked into Alabama football’s rotation. Booker referred to himself as “proof” that if you’re talented and ready, you’ll see the field. The flip side of Booker’s ascent, however, meant a realignment of the depth chart, partially relegating Ferguson to 53 total snaps.
With an opening at guard and tackle ahead of the 2023 season, Booker thinks Ferguson, as well as the Tide’s other inexperienced underclassmen, are ready to take the next step as Booker did.
“(Ferguson) just flipped a switch, you know? He really brought me up last year. I played a lot last year. He didn’t get to play last year and I think that really lit a fire under him,” Booker said on Monday. “He sees the opportunity and saw that, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do on a day-to-day basis, you’re going to play and you’re going to get what you deserve. His mindset has completely changed. He’s ready to play.”
Tyler Steen, Javion Cohen and Kendall Randolph — last year’s veterans who protected Bryce Young’s blindside — are gone to either the NFL, transfer portal or have graduated. Aside from Ferguson, the Tide will need one of Elijah Pritchett or Kadyn Proctor to fill the tackle role.
During last Saturday’s Fan Day and open practice, Ferguson was among the contenders rotating in with other first-team offensive linemen along with Darrion Dalcourt. Both are practicing at guard and center. Pritchett had been stationed at first-team tackle before leaving Bryant-Denny Stadium slightly hobbled, giving Proctor more reps.
“How are they competing? What’s their maturity level relative to, they have ability? How can they sustain the grind of not making mental errors, staying focused on the things that they need to do to improve, whether it’s fundamental technique or knowledge of assignment? And that’s what we want to continue to focus on,” UA head coach Nick Saban said when assessing the jobs. “I think both those guys (Pritchett and Ferguson) have ability.”
Ferguson is a redshirt sophomore from Fort Valley, Ga. Booker noted Ferguson’s time management skills as the 6-foot-4, 318-pounder is set to graduate after just two academic years, allowing him to take classes online. Booker said Pritchett, a redshirt freshman, has been “paying a lot more attention to detail.” The 6-foot-6, 312-pound tackle has been taking notes and embracing competition.
The key for Proctor, 247Sports Composite’s highest-rated tackle in the class of 2023, has been matching his tools to the scheme.
“(Proctor) has all the physical attributes that you want in an offensive lineman here at the University of Alabama. The thing with Kadyn, he just has to put the technique together. That’ll come along with camp,” Booker said. " ... We’re going to drop back and pass the ball and make sure that whoever’s back at quarterback is going untouched. We’re just trying to develop that mindset with Kadyn. He’s taking all the right strides toward being a contributor on this offensive line. It’s just going to take time to develop.”
The trenches are one the top of questions Alabama needs to answer in fall camp amid uncertainty at quarterback and hints at a run-dominant offense. The group will get time to gel this Saturday at the first of the Tide’s two preseason scrimmages (which are closed to the public and media).

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