Anthony Steen was selected by the SEC as the offensive lineman of the week and was one of nine Alabama players named by the Crimson Tide coaching staff as players of the week. According to the SEC announcement, Steen, 6=3, 309, from Clarksdale, Miss., had the top grade on Bama’s offensive line. He had no missed assignments, allowed no sacks or pressures, and did not have a penalty.
Steen led an offensive line that did not give up a sack and paved the way for 668 yards of offense (8.4 yards per play) in a 48-7 win over Kentucky in Lexington. Alabama had a 300-yard passer (A.J. McCarron) and two 100-yard rushers (T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake) for the first time in school history.
Steen said, “I was telling my dad I've been working trying to get that for three years now and I'm glad I finally got it. As I told him, I'm not going to sit here and celebrate like he was trying to celebrate for me. I've got another SEC game this week to focus on.”
Alabama will be in Bryant-Denny Stadium this week, hosting the Arkansas Razorbacks at 6 p.m. CDT. ESPN will televise the game. Alabama is 6-0 overall, 3-0 in SEC games, and ranked first in the nation. Arkansas is 3-4, including an 0-3 conference record, and is coming off a 52-7 loss at the hands of South Carolina.
Both guards on the Alabama offensive line were selected by the Bama coaching staff for Player of the Week honors in the Kentucky game. Steen was joined by junior Arie Kouandjio on the honor roll. Also selected on offense was wide receiver Kevin Norwood, who had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley was selected for the sixth consecutive week. He was joined on the defensive list by freshman lineman A'Shawn Robinson. Mosley led the squad in tackles with seven, while Robinson had six tackles and a pair of sacks. The defense limited UK to just 170 total yards with just 62 of those coming in the first half. Alabama has held five of its six opponents to 10 points or less and now ranks second nationally in scoring defense (11.3 ppg).
Placekicker Cade Foster, return man Christion Jones, and Altee Tenpenny and DeAndrew White on coverage and returns were also coaches’ choices.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, “Anthony has been the most consistent performer that we’ve had, probably, in the offensive line. Cyrus Kouandjio has done a good job, as well, so I’m not making a comparison here. Anthony’s got a lot of experience. I think his leadership and his effect on the other people has been critical in the development of the offensive line. He’s tough, he’s physical, he’s very confident in what he does. He’s played extremely well for us. I’m pleased and hopeful that he’ll continue to be able to stay healthy and do those things in the future.”
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was also singing the praises of Steen. “He’s an unbelievable player,” McCarron said. “He comes to work every day. You never see Steen in a negative mood, never bringing down on the practice field, which helps tremendously because your offensive line takes you as far as you want to go as an offense and a team. You can’t say enough about him. He does everything for us. He’s practiced at center for us with Ryan Kelly being out and he’s done an excellent job of that, too. He really is a great teammate and an a great person to have on the field.”
Steen said he measures the success of an offensive line by “our total yards and our rushing yards.”
He said he knew that offensive line coach Mario Cristobal was pleased, “and if he’s happy, then I’m happy.”
Steen said the offense has a plan for Arkansas. “We have to go out in the beginning and play our ‘A’ game,” he said. “if we go out there and don't play our 'A' game then they're going to get it in their head that they have a chance.
“We take it to them early then it'll be our game. We've got to go out there and take it to them early and make sure they know that they don't have a chance. That's what Coach Saban says. We take it to them early then it'll be our game. We've got to go out there and take it to them early and make sure they know that they don't have a chance.”
Steen was asked about true freshman Grant Hill, who has been seeing duty on the offensive line in recent weeks. Steen said, “Grant is a freshman and he tries to go out there and run every play as hard as he can. I know that he was a little nervous in the game. He jumped offsides that one time, but he bounced back just fine.”
Hill’s offsides penalty drew the wrath of Saban. Steen said he couldn’t remember ever having a Saban chew-out.
“I can’t remember,” Steen said. “I’m trying to block it out. I probably have and just don’t remember it.
“But when I saw Coach Saban was hot, I kind of just walked away. I wanted to make sure Grant had all that.”