Saban was not pleased with the scrimmage. Alabama has some experienced players on this team but this team’s going to be all about the bottom half of the roster and how they improve. So far according to Saban, not nearly enough.
Alabama’s program is so stable that you don’t see many people moving around. Starting positions tend to be earned over time for many so often the guy penciled in is the guy who holds that job come fall. Then again Saban isn’t afraid to play freshman either.
Backup Quarterback Blake Sims continues to hang in like an old rusty nail at the #2 quarterback spot. While he by all accounts has improved his passing he will need to prove he can run the majority of the offense to avoid being displaced some time during the next 12 months. He will probably be the #2 guy when we kick off in the fall there may be another guy who would play if there were a longer term injury to A J McCarron.
Yeldon, Drake and newcomer Derrick Henry are most likely the top 3 at running back. According to those who claim to have seen the scrimmage he looks a bit slow compared to what Yeldon is doing. I think to expect him to be as far along as Yeldon was this time last year is really unfair since he outdid both Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson as a freshman. Not knowing what to do tends to slow people down and Henry is going to look slower due to his long stride. While I think that’s how it stands now I still think Altee Tenpenny will get in that mix this summer.
They say that you don’t lose your job due to injury. Well that’s just a big fat lie. If that were the case Dick Butkus would still be playing in the NFL. DeAndrew White lost his spot and half the 2012 season due to injury. In his absence Amari Cooper became a superstar. Well 7 receptions for 132 yards from White seems to indicate he is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire to the autograph table at homecoming just yet. Alabama’s receiving core is the deepest in living memory. They can throw three pairs of guys out there that could start virtually anywhere.
Of the tight ends aside from Vogler being the top dog for the “Y” position everything else is total chaos. newcomer O J Howard probably has a ways to go but it’s really early yet.
Arie Kouandjio seems to have settled in at left guard and Austin Shepherd at right tackle. I’m disappointed to not have heard about more competition for these spots. If we don’t hear of some flip flopping between now and fall I’ll lean toward this as a bad sign.
Corner appears to be a chinese fire drill. While Deion Belue seems to be solidifying his hold on one of the spots everything else is apparently up for grabs with nobody really taking it. This won’t be resolved in the spring. The unsettled position might result in some better than expected passing numbers all spring.
Senior John Fulton is out this spring with a toe injury. He has been beginning to do some drills but I don’t expect he will play. I think he will make a push for a spot this spring.
One good sign is that converted wide receiver Cyrus Jones appears to have taken to it well. This isn’t surprising as he was considered equally good at DB and WR in high school. It’s possible he might even be pushing Geno Smith out. Smith played outstanding in the final quarter of the season but we have seen more than one sophomore tank in the past. You never sleep at Alabama or you find yourself on the pine. Bradley Selve and Jabril Washington appear to be battling for jobs as well.
Dee Hart is still at corner and may stay there but I’m hearing he would be confined to more of a nickle position.
With all the chaos at corner Alabama’s four freshman recruits who will arrive this summer are probably going to come in with the attitude that “I can win a spot”. So this fall could be interesting.
At safety it appears Ha Ha Dix and Landon Collins have those spots wrapped up but we might see Jarrick Williams get a little playing time there as well.
As I suspected there is a fierce battle at nose guard where Brandon Ivory is battling the bigger Darren Lake. No doubt this will make them both better and both will be rotating this fall no matter who wins out.
No movement at linebacker with all four starters returning plus key reserve Denzel Devall. All the battles there relate to who will take over next season when there may be some turnover. Alabama has some very talented freshman arriving in the summer who might be in on that equation as well. It’s worth noting that former blue chipper Tana Patrick seems to be having a great spring and may play as a reserve next season if he can hold off the younger players. Many however feel that if monster linebacker Reggie Ragland ever figures out what he is doing he will not be possible to keep off the field.