Matt Womack ready to step into starting roleBy Molly Catherine Walsh | 04/20/2017 12:48am
Alabama will play its A-Day game on April 22 at 2 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama football players are no strangers to the spotlight. The beast that is the Crimson Tide elevates its athletes to a new level of recognition that seems completely unattainable to anyone else. Ironically, however, Matt Womack the 6’7", 316-pound offensive lineman has had trouble getting noticed by his own coaches.
The three-star tackle from Magnolia Heights High School in Hernando, Mississippi is the only lineman in Alabama’s first three units with a rating lower than four stars, and yet he has been seeing time as starting right tackle in spring practice. Although Womack spent last year as a redshirt freshman, he still saw playing time as a backup tackle in nine games last season. He is rising above his rating and taking on a leadership role after a fruitful offseason.
Along with putting on an additional ten pounds, Womack has improved his balance and control physically as well as his mental toughness and maturity. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been pleased with the progress he has seen so far.
“I thought he had a really good off season,” Saban said. “His body is starting to develop, starting to show a lot of maturity, balance and body control, better conditioning, better ability to sustain more mental toughness, better idea of what he’s supposed to do. Grasp of the offense, which allows him to play with more confidence.”
Womack came out of nowhere. He will compete against teammate and five-star early enrollee Alex Leatherwood for the starting position. It will come down to whichever player shows the most consistency and focus in practices and A-Day. Alabama sophomore offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher admitted that he has noticed growth in Womack’s physical abilities and his level of dedication and that is a good sign of leadership for the offense.
“I think he's really matured,” Pierschbacher said. “I think he kind of knows that this is his time to step up, and really prove to the coaches that he's the guy. I think he's really taken that to heart. He's in here getting treatment and getting extra film work which is nice to see. He's really taken it to heart and knows that this is his time to step up. It's been nice to see out of him."
Fellow offensive lineman and Alabama junior Bradley Bozeman is no stranger to the position, so he recognizes what it takes to be a leader and what it looks like when those changes take place. Bozeman has noticed Womack slowly but surely becoming the go-to guy for the fall season.
“He's been working hard, kind of quietly for a while,” Bozeman said. “He's got an opportunity over there and doing a good job.”
Realistically, it is anyone’s guess as to whom will truly be the starting offensive lineman by the time the fall season approaches. Womack knows as well as anyone else on the team does that Saban doesn’t make any promises. However, his chances of remaining a leader in his position look good if he continues to improve in the summer months ahead.