21 July 2008
| Brian Motley - #66 – OL/DL – 6-2 – 280 lbs. – Autaugaville, AL – Autaugaville HS – 1 Varsity Letter
Two big questions surround Brian’s 2008 season – Will he be able to remain healthy enough to contribute? What position will he play? More so than possibly any other player, his status for the 2008 is in question.
It started last year when he was moved from OL to DL, and was in the driver’s seat to start the season as the 1st team Nose Guard. A broken ankle sidelined him for the first 4 games. He played in Bama’s last 9 games, starting the Louisiana-Monroe game.
It’s tough to look at a stat sheet and judge how well he played, though (11 tackles, 2.5 for a loss). The Nose Guard’s job in Nick Saban’s
defense isn’t necessarily to make plays, but more so to command a double team, making it easier for the Defensive Ends and Linebackers to make plays.
After breaking the ring finger on his left hand in the spring Brian was moved to Defensive End. After a short stint there, he finished the spring back on the Offensive Line. Whether that move was made because of depth and talent, or as a precautionary measure to protect his hand is not known.
After 3 surgeries in 7 months from the beginning of the 2007 season through spring practice, the key for Brian is to first and foremost stay healthy. I’m not sure that’s a fair thing to say – how exactly does one actively try to stay healthy? I don’t know the answer to that question, and unfortunately to this point, Brian doesn’t either.
If he can figure that out, he can be a contributor. Bama has an extreme lack of depth on both the offensive and defensive line, so having a guy with actual SEC experience potentially providing depth is a big deal. Obviously a decision will have to be made as far as which line he’ll play on, as I don’t see any way he can be successful at either if he tries to play both.
Because Brian would almost certainly be a Guard on the OL, and the interior part of the line is far deeper than the tackles, my guess is that we’ll see Brian back on the DL when fall camp opens in 2 weeks. And despite the experiment at DE during the spring, I think he is a Nose Guard all the way. There is just no way, in my mind, that he stays on the OL unless he somehow beats out either Mike Johnson
or Marlon Davis
for one the starting Guard spots, and I just don’t see that happening.
With Lorenzo Washington
, Josh Chapman
, and potentially Alfred McCullough
& Terrence Cody
all fighting for time at Nose Guard position, there should be great competition there. Brian was set to be the starter last year ahead of all in that group except for Cody,
so it is not much of a stretch to think that he would stand a good chance of earning significant playing time in 2008.
If he is able to lock down one of what will likely be 3 spots in the NG rotation, it potentially frees up either Washington
to play DE. McCullough
actually worked there in the spring, though I’ve gone on record several times as saying that I think Lorenzo Washington
would be a dynamite DE.
I expect we’ll see Brian back to Nose Guard, and unless there is a position change, he and Washington will battle it out to see who earns the start against Clemson. Given the fact that he earned a start late in the season last year, that battle could very well continue all season.