Some quick thoughts on Spring practice at ‘Bama, AU
‘Bama has a lot of fine, experienced players returning to the 2011 team. Auburn lost 24 seniors and has holes to fill. They also lost Cam Newton, Nick Fairley and Darvin Adams, three juniors who were the most critical pieces(Newton and Fairley were, Adams helped a lot) to last year’s national championship team. Auburn also lost four of five starting offensive linemen, so it’ll be a new group up front with Brandon Mosley being the only returning starter at tackle. There is a lot of young talent who are probably hungry to perform and the coaches are challenging these guys to be as good as last year telling them all the seniors are gone and took all those wins with them using some psychology to get these guys motivated. But for both teams, they’ll be breaking in new quarterbacks, guys I both like a lot.
At Alabama, A.J. McCarron and Phillp Sims are battling it out. Like McCarron to win the job though there’s time for Sims to win the job. Still liked the way McCarron played last year when called upon. He’s got a strong arm, pretty decent feet and looks accurate. Think he can be a good quarterback at the University. Got four of five linemen returning. Julio Jones is gone, but Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze return along with a slew of younger guys so the receiving corps ought to be good. Tight end solid with Michael Williams and Chris Smelley.
Trent Richardson is ready for a breakout year. If he gets it going, he could be in the Heisman race. Some pretty good players behind him in Eddie Lacy and Demetrius Goode. Look for Dee Hart, the freshman, to make an impact this year.
Defense should be excellent. Need some more depth up front because there will be some new guys, but Josh Chapman and Kerry Murphy should lead the way. Darrington Sentimore and Ed Stinson should be excellent players. Linebacker should be awesome. Dont’a Hightower should return to his form of two years ago, at least I know Alabama fans hope for that. C.J. Mosley will be phenomenal. Courtney Upshaw is unlimited in talent and should be a dominating player and guys like Chris Jordan, Jerrelle Harris and Tana Patrick are excellent, tough players who will lay the wood on you and make plays all over the field. This is a great group of players. Could be the best linebacking corps in the country.
Secondary ought to be outstanding with Mark Barron returning for his senior year. Don’t know what happened down in Mobile. Sounded like he was protecting his cousin, but it doesn’t seem major and he should be back at the end of the Spring. Once he heals up from his torn pectoral muscle and gets back into playing shape, Barron should dominate in the fall. Just a tremendous player. Robert Lester ought to be a terrific player also. He already is. What did he have eight interceptions last year? Seven or eight. He’ll dominate. Dre Kirkpatrick should be stellar. Nick Perry, Phelon Jones, Jarrick Williams and John Fulton should be ready to be prime time players.
Almost left out the offensive line. Williams Vlachos, Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker return. Aaron Douglas, a junior college transfer, looks like he could be the final piece up front. Will need to build up depth.
If McCarron can come through, which I think he will, this team has a shot at winning the national championship.
At Penn State, at Florida, at Ole Miss, at Miss State and at Auburn, all winnable games. Not sure about Penn State, don’t think they’re great. Florida kind of out of sorts and may not have it together next year. Ole Miss, who knows with Nutt? Miss. State ought to be pretty good, but Tide should beat them, and AU lost 24 seniors and Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, so they’ll be young and the game very winnable though at Auburn. Ark, Vandy, Tenn and LSU at home. LSU and Ark toughest games there. The others are non conference games against Kent State, Georgia Southern and North Texas; just show up for those and get those out of the way.
A-Day game Saturday, April 16, at 2 P.M. on ESPNU
AU is kind of in a rebuilding mode. New quarterback. Like Barrett Trotter a lot. Think he’s the man, though Clint Moseley from Leroy is talented and 6″4″, Trotter is probably 6’2″, but probably has a stronger arm and pretty good wheels. But I’m not counting Moseley out just yet. Running back still thin with Michael Dyer carrying the load. Onterio McCalebb was an electric player last year, so expect good things from him if the line comes through. Not many players though at rb. But the line is the key as it is for any offense along with the quarterback and there are some question marks on this year’s line.
The line has to replace guys like Ryan Pugh and Lee Ziemba along with Mike Berry and Byron Isom. That’s a tall order. Thought AU had the best line in the country last year. Brandon Mosley will have to step up. Reese Dismukes may come in early and play at center. I’ve heard great things about him from high school at Spanish Fort. Heard he was dominant. I’ve heard something about this Chad Slade kid that he can play. Will know more about line in Spring game which is April 16, Saturday, at 1 p.m. No TV announced yet, but I’m sure some network will carry it.
Wide receiver has Emory Blake back and Phillip Lutzenkirchen. Have heard great things about Trovon Reed. Sounds stellar. Quindarius Carr looked like he was going to be a player in last year’s Spring game. But he battled some injuries in the fall. I expect him to be a player this year. Other guys like DeAngelo Benton and Travante Stallworth could be good players. Again will know more as Spring moves on.
Defense is kind of rebuilding. Some young, good linebackers led by Jake Holland should give AU a pretty solid group. Darren Bates will stay at lb on the outside. Secondary ought to be pretty good this year. T’Sharvan Bell is back as is Neiko Thorpe and some young ones.
Defensive line ought to have two stellar players in Jeffrey Whitaker and Corey Lemonier. Need to build some depth there.
There are some depth issues with the loss of 23 seniors and three juniors and the expulsion of five players for disciplinary reasons. But we’ll see. May be a decent season. Probably not an SEC championship or National title, but could surprise some people. A lot of really good young athletes on the team. Expect Christian Westerman to be a player on the offensive front. Big time recruit. There are some others who will probably play a lot this year. Talented class.
Schedule is difficult. At Clemson, at South Carolina, at Arkansas, at LSU and at Georgia. Home games against State, Florida, Ole Miss and ‘Bama. Utah State, Florida Atlantic and Samford are wins at home. Looks like 9-3 would be stellar. 7-5 could be more realistic.
If it wasn’t for the road schedule, Tigers might win quite a few games, but that’s demanding. Still a lot of young talent. We’ll learn more in the Spring game.
(A.J. McCarron, left, and Barrett Trotter, should be the leaders of their respective units next fall.)Football / Comments (0) / make a comment