On the Beat: Matt Womack’s injury opens door for young tackle as Alabama begins spring practice

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Before the team took the field for its first practice, Alabama football was down a starter due to injury.

Crimson Tide right tackle Matt Womack suffered a broken bone in his foot.

“Matt Womack had a foot, same thing that three other guys had last year,” Saban said. “Sort of a Jones Fracture type thing. It got repaired. It was bothering him all during the offseason. He actually injured it further walking up and down the steps over spring break, so he’s going to be out.”

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The injury will sideline Womack for all of spring practice, including the Crimson Tide’s A-Day spring game on April 21.

Womack started all 14 games last season, including the two playoff matchups, as Alabama won its fifth national championship in nine years under Nick Saban.

Womack was one of four returning starters from an offensive line that only lost center Bradley Bozeman.

Womack’s injury opens the door for rising sophomore Jedrick Wills to get first-team reps at right tackle. Wills pushed Womack for the starting job prior to last season, but Womack’s spring practice time and overall experience was too much for Wills to overcome after he enrolled in the summer.

Wills still gained valuable experience last season, earning his first playing time in the second quarter of the Crimson Tide’s home opener against Fresno State at right tackle. Wills made his first career start at right tackle in the Ole Miss game, and saw action in 11 games last season.

Wills was one of two highly-rated tackles from Alabama’s 2017 class along with 5-star Alex Leatherwood. Leatherwood stepped into the national championship game when Jonah Williams went down.

It’ll take some reshuffling, but there’s a chance we could see both Wills and Leatherwood on the field this season.

Alabama has a decision to make when it comes to replacing Bozeman at center. Starting left guard Ross Pierschbacher could make the move, but there’s also the possibility of moving Jonah Williams from left tackle to center. That would be radical considering how well Williams performed at right and left tackle his first two years, but it would give Alabama an opportunity to get its best five linemen on the field.

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