Play No. 1 is a penalty, but it is good start to evaluate
Fluker's mechanics. Start with the stance. Against a speed rusher like Nick Kasa,
the farther back a player has his back leg, the harder it is going to be for him
to properly kick step and slide. Fluker is a very good athlete for someone of
his size, but there is no way that he is going to gather and set himself in
enough time from this position. His left toes should be closer in-line to his
Taking a look at his upper body, I like to teach hands on hips almost like the
old Wild West days, a cowboy with his hands on his six shooters. This will allow
him to quickly extend the arms and punch to get separation from the defender.
Fluker has his forearms resting on his thighs. I also like my tackles to sink
their butt and keep that back straight, almost as if creating a chair out of his
thighs and chest. This will help keep everything in front of him. When you look
at the chest, Fluker is leaning forward severely. Again, this cause a delay when
he tries to kick and slide.
Once the play has begun Fluker’s right foot takes the cheat step forward
when the ball is snapped, instead of gathering his momentum and taking the kick
step with the back foot. Once he gathers and starts his kick step, he went from
what should be shoulder width separation to about a three and a half foot gap
between his legs. He is now flat footed instead of being on the balls of his
feet. Fluker’s feet are so large that if he has a big span in between them, he
has a bad tendency to trip over them. He is not always keeping his knees bent to
gather his weight and momentum so that he can reposition himself after contact.
He tries to bend at the waist, which is a cardinal sin for a lineman.
Play No. 2:
Fluker does a good job reacting to the twist that the defensive line was
doing. They were doing slide left protection where the guard takes the “B”
gap defender and the tackle has “C”. As Fluker backs up he his feet going
and he falls over Kasa. Watching the stance for the bad habits that we
documented in play No. 1, there is a clear progression that leads to Fluker
Play No. 3
Fluker cuts down his stance and toes are to the in-step. He is in a pass pro
stance on a running play, which is fine if he can recover fast enough to
step play side and get to the second level of defenders including linebackers.
Coaches will differ on their opinions, but some do not care if a their linemen
use a drive blocking stance on run plays and a two-point pass blocking stance in
passing situations. Sometimes a coach will want the player in the same stance
all the time to not give the edge to the defender to tip him off.
Now that I saw Fluker shift his feet, I know to watch the next running play to
see if he does it on all running plays. When the ball is snapped, Fluker steps
with his outside foot and not the play side foot. When he gets to the second
level his body is all over the place, because again, he is bent at the waist and
not in a good football position with his knees bent. Being off balance, he
cannot stop and gather his momentum to make the block.
Play No. 4
With his weight leaning forward, rather than balanced, Fluker has no choice
but to lunge at the defensive end, and he misses him.
Play No. 5
Fluker's upper body is a little more perpendicular in this play, but he steps
with the wrong foot and has too much weight out in front of him. The defender
beats him off the snap and shoots inside on him.
Play No. 6
Fluker is in a much better stance. He makes sure he was upright so he could get
out to block for the screen pass. Generally, on a screen a lineman is asked to
block his defender for a split second, then release and pull.
Play No. 7
Several of the same mistakes are evident, and Fluker takes himself out of the
Play No. 8
Fluker releases on a draw play, but again he is in bad position, so he cannot
gather himself to make a block. Linebackers and safeties simply dodge him.
Play No. 9
He starts the play well, but he doesn't finish his block after engaging his
defender. The man he is responsible for ends up making the play on the ball
Play No. 10
Fluker does a solid job of forcing his man to the inside and getting the
double team with the guard.
Play No. 11
Fluker was ineffective in this play as he just kind of lumbers out into the
flat and misses the block.
Play No. 12
Penalty, No play.
Play No. 13
False start penalty again and no play.
Play No. 14
Fluker opened up really and delivered his punch and rode Kasa outside the
tackle box just the way he should. He took his man out of the play.
Fluker is a monster at 6-6+ and in the neighborhood of 350 pounds. For his
size he can moves well, but there it takes more than size to become an elite
offensive lineman early in a player's career. With all of the bad habits that
Fluker has, I think it will probably take two years for the staff at Alabama to
turn him into a serviceable player if he remains at offensive tackle.
Scout.com's former #1 Offensive lineman Andre Smith became a starter right away
at Alabama and will be a high draft pick after only three years. The hope for
Alabama fans is that Fluker can step into Smith's shoes and not miss a beat for
the Tide. Smith is one of the best linemen I have ever seen, and I do not see
that in Fluker. I think he can eventually crack the lineup at Alabama and become
a solid college football player, but he is considerably farther behind Smith at
the same stage of their careers.
I see a very serviceable college football player after a few seasons of
coaching. Right now, it may be best for Alabama to start Fluker off at guard. At
the guard position, his size and strength can be an asset, rather than his
technique at tackle making him a liability.