October 23, 2007

The Zoom Lens: B.J. Stabler

Each week BamaOnLine.com subscribers choose the focus of The Zoom Lens, a weekly post-game analysis of a specific position. BOL staff reviews a tape of each game with a play-by-play eye on the position chosen by members. This week's poll results after Alabama's 41-17 win over Tennessee:

B.J. Stabler30.4 percent
D.J. Hall30.2 percent
John Parker Wilson27.4 percent
Keith Saunders11.8 percent

The subject: Right guard B.J. Stabler.
Observations: On Alabama's first running play, Stabler drove Tennessee LB Rico McCoy backward as Terry Grant picked up five yards. McCoy recovered to get a piece of the tackle, but only after Grant had made a nice gain over the left side. ... Stabler was guilty of a false start on Alabama's second drive of the game. A few plays later, Stabler pulled left on a give to Grant and knocked Ryan Karl's helmet off. He was late getting through the hole because Andre Smith's man got into the backfield on a downblock, causing Smith to knock Stabler slightly off his path. Stabler managed to reach Karl just in time to get a push on a gain of four, although Karl made the tackle. ... Stabler missed a cutblock on McCoy on Grant's 25-yard gain early in the second quarter, but Stabler did reach him quickly and forced McCoy to jump over him as Grant broke into the secondary. ... Overall, his pass protection was excellent. He allowed a second-quarter pressure to Dan Williams, but John Parker Wilson escaped for a scramble gain of five. ... On Alabama's second drive of the second half, Grant picked up a gain of six off Stabler's block, but the junior missed a block on the next play on a gain of one. ... On the following drive, Grant picked up 10 behind Stabler again.
Overview: Stabler's 20th career start, and first of the 2007 season, was an impressive one. His run blocking was solid and his pass protection was outstanding. Considering he did not practice with the first unit at all this week, and had not practiced at guard since last season, Stabler's experience was a key in his performance. After the game, Stabler said the chronic knee soreness that has plagued him for much of his career was not a problem during the game, and said he would be ready if needed against LSU on Nov.3.

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