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The state of Alabama is well represented on the Joe Moore Award midseason honors list with the University of Alabama, UAB and South Alabama listed among the 22 teams.

The award honors the most outstanding offensive line unit in college football and is the only award in major college football that honors an entire unit. The award recognizes the most physical and toughest offensive lines in the country.

Fourteen nationally ranked teams are included on the list, including top-ranked Georgia, second-ranked Ohio State, Tennessee and Michigan. UAB and South Alabama are two of five Group of Five teams represented on the list.

UAB right tackle Sidney Wells, right guard Quincy McGee, center Will Rykard and left guard Matthew Trehern have started all six games. Left tackle Kadeem Telfort, a member of the Outland Trophy watch list, started four games and played in five. Trey Bedosky has the other two starts at left tackle and Brady Miller has played the bulk of the time as the sixth offensive lineman in the Rhino package.

“It’s awesome, I’m not going to say it’s not,” said offensive line coach Cameron Blankenship, who worked and developed this group into a top-notch offensive line. “I told the guys today, with great recognition comes great responsibility. That’s a midseason honor roll deal. It’s humbling to be mentioned with 21 other teams that are some pretty good teams. These dudes, man, they come to work every day. They’ve embraced the [hard] part of it. I’ve seen a lot of growth. I’ve seen a different kind of attitude, even with our backup guys.”

UAB has the second leading rushing attack in Conference USA, largely because of the job the Blazers have done up front. Blankenship said there’s another critical factor to that.

“It helps when you have running backs like we do,” Blankenship said. “Debo (DeWayne McBride) and Skull (Jermaine Brown Jr.) are different. Debo does a lot of things with not a lot of space. It’s our job, No. 1 to surge off the ball and No. 2 to open holes for those guys. Sometimes we do a good job, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes they hit [the hole], sometimes there’s not a hole to hit, and they hit it anyway. It's different having those guys. Our guys feed off Debo and Skull.”

This is what the Joe Moore Award committee had to say about UAB’s offensive line: “These dudes create space. Perfect for their North-South rushing attack. [Running backs] repeatedly get to [the line of scrimmage] with a ton of space between them and defenders. The ability to strain and finish is all over the tape. They are an unselfish bunch who protect their QB well and he rarely gets hit."

*South Alabama’s offensive line leads the way for a top 30 offense that averages 462.3 yards per game. Quarterback Carter Bradley gets sacked less than two times per game and he’s had the time to throw for nearly 300 yards per game.

Center James Jackson, right guard Reggie Smith and right tackle Adrein Strickland have six starts this season. Left guard Dontae Lucas has started five games and left tackle Josh McCullough has three starts.

The committee said this about South Alabama: “What really stands out is that in the true essence of the Joe Moore Award, they get it done as a unit. [They are] physical off the snap and they drive off the ball in unison, maintaining pad level and fit with good hand placement. They do a tremendous job on staying hip to hip on combos and have great awareness of second level players, as well as handling movement across their face. They strain well and consistently. You see them communicating against blitzing fronts and line games. Nice job of snapping off twists."

*Alabama had a little bit of movement in personnel up front through the first seven games of the season. But, left tackle Tyler Steen, left guard Javion Cohen and right tackle JC Latham have started all seven games. Right guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. has played in all seven games with six starts and center Darrion Dalcourt has five appearances with four starts.

The Crimson Tide offensive front has helped the Crimson Tide average 513 yards and 45 points per game.

*The entire midseason honors list consists of Alabama, UAB, South Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, Michigan, Ole Miss, TCU, UCLA, Oregon, USC, Syracuse, Penn State, Kansas State, Illinois, Air Force, Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Arkansas, Minnesota and Notre Dame.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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