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December 28, 2012

Steen quietly does job without much fanfare

TUSCALOOSA | Getting forgotten as an offensive lineman is easy enough.

Like referees and long snappers, their mistakes at times seem to be the only thing that can get them noticed. It's even easier to get overlooked as the "other" guy on an offensive line that includes some of the college game's elite at the position.

That's Anthony Steen.

But according to University of Alabama coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide's right guard has played as well as anyone on the offensive front this season.

"I don't think that just because you don't get media attention or make some (honorary) team that it doesn't mean you haven't been very effective as a player," Saban said. "A lot of times, people do a numbers count on how many guys are from this team - you can only submit so many guys for these teams - but Anthony's done as good a job as anyone on the offensive line."

To Steen's left on the UA offensive front is Barrett Jones, an All-America center with a year-old Outland Trophy and a Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center, on his resume. To his right is tackle D.J. Fluker, who is considered among the top NFL prospects at his position as a junior. And his counterpart at guard, Chance Warmack on the left side, may well be the first guard chosen in the April NFL Draft.

Steen quietly picked up player of the week honors from the UA coaching staff in two of Alabama's last three games, and has started every game this season. Quarterback AJ McCarron recognized Steen's anonymity, but said the junior isn't the type of player that needs recognition.

"That's gonna happen when you have All-Americans on the offensive line. Steen is a big part of our offense, and he knows that. He doesn't need awards or anything like that for other people to see," McCarron said.

For Steen, however, anonymity doesn't necessarily mean inexperience. The BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame will be his 25th career start, and if Fluker opts to make an early jump to the NFL after the season, Steen will return in 2013 as Alabama's most seasoned offensive lineman.

"I think Anthony Steen and Cyrus (Kouandjio) are two guys that have played very, very well all year long, and their time is coming," Saban added. "They're going to be the guys who get featured next year as being the most experienced guys, who have the most starts, who have played with the most consistency, that people will be looking at as guys who probably will receive a lot of accolades."

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.



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