Alabama Wins Joe Moore Award For Nation's Top Offensive Line

Andy Slawecki

It was announced Wednesday in Tuscaloosa that the Alabama offensive line had earned the inaugural Joe Moore Award, according to the USA Today. The award, named for the late Joe Moore who was the offensive line coach at Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, is presented to the country's top unit and will be given out at the conclusion of every season hereafter. The Crimson Tide beat out finalists from Stanford, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Iowa and fellow-SEC school Arkansas.

The award is just the latest in a season full of accolades for Alabama, who finished the season as the No. 2 team in the country, playing for a shot at the National Championship in just the second College Football Playoff. The Alabama offensive line provided the holes for running back Derrick Henry to run through en route to capturing the Heisman Trophy. Henry became just the second Alabama player ever to win the award, following in the footsteps of fellow running back Mark Ingram who took home the hardware in 2009. Henry added the Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards for the nation's top player, as well as the Doak Walker Award for the country's best running back.

Mario Cristobal is in his third season as Alabama offensive line coach and assistant head coach after spending six years as the head coach at Florida International University. Cristobal is proud of the work his unit accomplished and the award bestowed on them, but knows there's still work to be done, as covered by the university's official athletic site.

"Like a lot of offensive lines, our guys worked hard all year long, battled through adversity and improved every week. This offensive line plays the position the right way, with toughness, teamwork and a relentless focus on being dominant on every snap. We'll need to keep that up and keep improving down the stretch, because this is the part of the year where good offensive line play counts the most."

Coaches and former colleagues of Coach Joe Moore formed a voting committee for the award along with every offensive line coach in the FBS and select media members. CBS Sports college football analyst and Committee Chairman Aaron Taylor expressed how they came to the decision in awarding Alabama the inaugural Joe Moore Award for the nation's most outstanding offensive line.

"Many voters shared how impressed they were with the physicality and athleticism of the Crimson Tide's offensive line unit. The film shows them exploding off of the ball, getting to the second level and working to finish plays, which is the hallmark of outstanding offensive line play."

[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]