22 July 2008
| Taylor Pharr - #68 – OL – 6’6 – 286 lbs. – Irondale, AL – Shades Valley HS – 1 Varsity Letter
It is uncommon for an Offensive Lineman to come straight out of high school and contribute as a true freshman like Andre Smith
– something Bama fans should keep in mind when evaluating incoming Freshman Tyler Love
. It is much more typical for a guy to redshirt his 1st season on campus and then develop over the next year into a player ready to contribute. Those 2 years of strength gains combined with increased knowledge in the system go a long way towards preparing a player to play in the SEC.
That’s the case with Taylor Pharr, a good solid prospect out of high school who has taken 2 years to grow into his 6’6 frame. The ideal size for a tackle, he spent all of spring practice battling with Drew Davis
for the starting nod at Right Tackle.
Known as a workout warrior, strength was never an issue with Taylor as much as size. At 268 lbs. coming out of high school, there was a need for him to fill out his large frame in order to deal with the leverage issues that come from big, strong SEC Defensive Ends and Linebackers.
: Taylor saw the field in 5 games in 2007, though most of that was on special teams. With Right Tackle being wide open, the opportunity for real, important playing time is available.
Expect to see Taylor battle with Drew Davis
for playing time throughout the fall camp. Unless Tyler Love
turns out to be an Andre Smith
-like talent, expect to see a Pharr-Davis battle continue throughout the season. That is the best case scenario for Alabama because it would probably allow Love
Obviously offensive line cohesion is a big deal, so the best thing for all involved is for one of the 3 guys listed above to claim the starting position and hold off all competition, allowing 1 guy to work with the other 4 linemen as 1 unit. Regardless, having 2 or 3 guys battling it out in practice every day is great competition and should make all of them better.
If Taylor does not earn the starting nod at Right Tackle, look for him to get a lot of reps in practice at Left Tackle, as there is literally no scholarship backup for Smith at that position, and someone will need to be ready to take over as the starter in the case of an injury, or in 2009 if Smith
decides to head to the NFL.