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October 17, 2011TUSCALOOSA | It was the second of Trent Richardson's four touchdowns that made Chance Warmack's eyes light up the most.
The University of Alabama left guard played what coach Nick Saban called his best game of the season Saturday against Ole Miss, and his block on that play was undoubtedly one reason why. Warmack pulled to the right on a give to Richardson from the Ole Miss 8-yard line, and rather than finding a defensive lineman or lineman to tangle with, the only Ole Miss defender in the hole was defensive back Charles Sawyer.
Needless to say, it wasn't a fair bout. Warmack flattened Sawyer, whom he outweighs by nearly 150 pounds, and Richardson went untouched into the end zone behind him.
"That's what I live for, man. ... Whenever I get a chance to pull, I try to get real revved up for it," Warmack said. "I always enjoy blocking for my running backs."
Now in his second season as a starter, Warmack has been steadily improving this season, according to Saban.
"Chance has played better and better each week and probably just had his best game. He's a very physical player and I think that our offensive line has really sort of improved, and as they've improved, we've kind of improved as an offensive unit," Saban said. "Chance is a big part of that."
Warmack was one of seven Alabama players named by the coaching staff for player of the week honors, the second time he has earned that distinction in the last three weeks. Linebacker Dont'a Hightower said taking Warmack on in practice when the first units compete with each other isn't much fun.
"Whenever we line up good-on-good and doing team run, we try to look at the formation to see what's going on. But we always keep an eye on Chance. Chance is that one guy that you have to absolutely go full speed with," Hightower said. "... Sometimes I feel sorry for the opposing team's linebackers because they might not have seen it on film or looked over it, but I'm definitely sure some of the Ole Miss linebackers (have) seen the effect of Chance when he comes through that hole."
Warmack speaks of blocking for Richardson as if it is more of a privilege than a job.
"You can feel him. You can feel 230 pounds coming up your back," Warmack said.
Richardson has amassed 912 yards through seven games, and hasn't rushed for under 100 since the season opener against Kent State.
"He's like a little kid when we're in the huddle, always laughing and smiling," he added. "You can't not block for a guy like that."
Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0196.