Thursday, December 4, 2014

No. 1 Alabama prepares to face final SEC hurdle

Although I haven't done the best job in the world in terms of updating the blog and providing weekly commentary, as promised in the format change earlier this fall, I've certainly been watching Alabama run the SEC maze with the rest of you.

While the College Football Playoff system, most notably the committee, has been just as confusing, if not more so, than the BCS ever was, 'Bama is one win away from being able to compete for the national title.

In respect to the SEC championship game, the Missouri Tigers are the Florida State of the SEC. Regardless of how they play, the Tigers seem to find a way to have more points at the end of the game. Are they a good team? I don't think anyone really knows to be quite honest.

After losing to Indiana and then being blanked by Georgia to the tune of 34-0, logic would suggest that Mizzou is a much better team since those two setbacks took place, but again...who really knows?

The SEC East is a bad division. No polite way to put it. So, having said all of the above, the Crimson Tide need to prepare for a battle. When facing the unknown, prepare for the worst. Or in this case, Mizzou's best game.

Taking it one game at a time is quite the old cliche, but things often become cliche courtesy of truth. If Alabama wants to be one of the final four, they need to be first on Saturday.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

IRON BOWL '14: Title Contender vs. The Spoiler

While the blog has been silent, the tension has been palpable.

After taking care of Mississippi State and dusting off Western Carolina, in a game that seemed to last three days, Iron Bowl week has finally arrived. Once again, as seems to be all too common in recent years, Alabama's dreams, in respect to the SEC and national title picture, will either be cemented or broken by the outcome of the annual tussle with Auburn.

While the Crimson Tide did suffer a plethora of bumps and bruises against Western Carolina, thankfully most of those ailments don't seem to be serious, per Nick Saban.

Wide receiver ArDarius Stewart and tight end Brian Vogler appear to be the only players whose status will be in doubt for Saturday's clash in Tuscaloosa. Saban has described both men as having stretched knee ligaments. Additional updates will likely be given Monday during Saban's game week presser.

When it comes to the gauntlet that I wrote about several weeks ago, so far so good seems to be the obvious conclusion. At this stage of the season, win and advance is the order of the day. Here's to continuing that trend for two more weeks.

For detailed information concerning Iron Bowl week, but sure to monitor the RSS feed of your choice located on the left side of the page.

Monday, November 10, 2014

No time for celebration for hungry Tide

LSU recap? Whew. Well, that's it. Game over. Right? On to the next one...

Unfortunately celebration time is/was short-lived. Personally, I soaked up the dramatic win at Tiger Stadium for all of one hour and then I was ready to move my fandom to the next game.

While it seems crazy to have to forget about such an amazing victory, the heavy lifting part of the mission has really just started.

Game preview? No. 1 Mississippi State is coming to town. I'm pretty sure that sentence alone defines what's at stake for the Crimson Tide.

One corner has been turned in respect to Alabama's November gauntlet, but the quest for the ultimate prize is still a work in progress.

Here's Nick Saban's Monday presser...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Alabama prepares to run November gauntlet

Take a deep breath while you can, Tide fans. Why? The next 48 hours could be your final time to do so until early December.

As has been the case so many times before, the Alabama Crimson Tide will attempt to run the November gauntlet for yet another season and the first adventure begins this Saturday at LSU.


Mississippi State
Western Carolina
SEC Championship Game

Okay, perhaps I did fib when it comes to the breath holding business. Yes, you can breathe against Western Carolina. However, if Alabama drops a game before that time, it really won't matter what you do because all will be lost in terms of the SEC title and the national title.

Getting down to the nuts and bolts of the matter, because of Alabama's early season loss to Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide must conquer the month of November. Not have a good showing...conquer.

If things remain the status quo, holding strong throughout the month, Alabama will have defeated a top-20 LSU team, No. 1 Mississippi State, and No. 3 Auburn. In the process, the Tide will have clinched the SEC Western Division crown while punching their ticket to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.

Based on how the College Football Playoff selection committee has viewed things and done things up until this point, it seems the criteria changes with every passing week. Winning out, for everyone within the top-10, seems to be the only method that is somewhat understandable.

Not to change the topic at hand, but I think those who were upset with the BCS format and wanted a change, will likely be issuing missing persons flyers for the BCS before too long.

At any rate, the mountain for the Crimson Tide is quite steep, and objectively speaking, I'm not sure they can pull it off. Having said that, if Alabama is still a one-loss team one month from now, there'll be no question who the No. 1 team in the nation is on the final selection day.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Super Cooper: WR Amari Cooper on pace to be the best

While my Alabama/Tennessee postgame blog was scratched due to sinus issues which impacted my concentration, Amari Cooper's concentration has been the picture of perfection.

Another game...another record.

Without recapping the events in Knoxville, I will say, just briefly, that I was very disappointed with Alabama's lack of "foot to the floor" mentality in the second half. However, to write what should be quite obvious, a 14-point victory over an SEC rival on the road will forever be a major accomplishment.

Did someone say accomplishment? Yet another perfect segue for Amari Cooper.

Without beating around the bush, I'll simply let a few tweets tell the story in respect to Mr. Cooper. Before the 2014 season comes to an end, Cooper, who is now a real contender for the Heisman, will likely hold every Alabama school record when it comes to receiving.

Twitterville stat time!




Most every high school football player has dreams and aspirations of becoming a collegiate great. In the case of Amari Cooper, I wonder if anyone could have told him that he'd select the University of Alabama and do nothing but break every school record in respect to his position. Heh.

From an individual standpoint in regards to the school he attended, Amari Cooper is on pace to have the perfect career. Only a select few can say that.

Congrats, Amari. If statistics are the proving ground, you're simply the best.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Alabama annihilates Texas A&M, Saban praises intensity

If winning makes everything better, then winning by the tune of 59-0 must be the equivalent of Christmas morning in the middle of October.

Whatever Alabama did wrong against Arkansas, they did everything right, and more, against the Aggies of Texas A&M.

--Click HERE for complete stats--

Courtesy of an offensive juggernaut and a defensive reminiscent of the days of Gene Stallings and the '92 title team, Alabama was high octane in every facet of the game.

Click the video below to hear what Nick Saban had to say about his team's performance against the Aggies.

For more postgame information be sure to click your choice of RSS feeds found on the left side of this page.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

UA survives Hogs, Saban concerned about "this punt thing"


Last night Alabama survived a scare from Arkansas in what looked like a flashback to the days of Dubose and/or Shula.

With enough mental mistakes to drive a crazy person nuts, Alabama, clearly the better team in terms of talent, decided to open hunting season on their own two feet.

--Click HERE for complete stats--

Courtesy of false starts, missed blocking assignments, missed defensive assignments, and a special teams nightmare that appears to be spawning a horror franchise, the Crimson Tide, while still 5-1 with the top prize still in reach, looks like a wobbly wagon at best.

You certainly don't need me to tell you, but if Alabama plays the remainder of the 2014 schedule the way they did against the Razorbacks, Western Carolina will be the only win the Crimson Tide will enjoy until 2015.


Click the video below to watch Nick Saban's postgame presser following Alabama's 14-13 victory over Arkansas.

For additional information on the status of the Tide, or quite possibly the additional headache, be sure to visit the RSS feeds of your choosing located on the left side of this post.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Make it or break it time for No. 7 Alabama

Just two months ago one could have never dreamed that Alabama's "test of worth" would come in a road contest against Arkansas, but football, as in life, is quite mysterious.

Playing "tight" against Ole Miss, per the admission of several Tide players, a performance this weekend, similar to that of the contest in Oxford, could find Alabama with two losses and a season on the verge of a downward spiral.

The easy schedule Alabama had in June isn't quite so easy in October. While Alabama's tough road will give them a chance to impress the masses and get back in the national title picture, the same bumpy terrain could stick a fork in every expectation the 2014 squad had for this season. A burnt to a crisp Tide before November is not out of the realm of possibility, unfortunately.

Turnovers, missed assignments, enough mental errors to fill Santa's Christmas bag. The Arkansas game will be a test of fundamentals for 'Bama.

Make no mistake, UA is still arguably the most talented team in the nation, but talent can only take you so far. You can be the best defensive back in the nation in terms of talent, but if your head isn't in the game and you don't know who to cover, then it makes no difference how talented you are.

If Alabama can roll through the next two months with one loss, enter the SEC title game, and advance to the new college football playoff, Nick Saban will be looking down the scope of coach of the year honors.

How bad does Alabama want it? We'll find out in roughly 24 hours...

Please check the RSS feeds on the left side of this post for all the latest Crimson Tide news via various respected media outlets.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rockin' Rebels: Ole Miss upsets Alabama

Let the exhales of disappointment commence.

What was billed to be a close game, and potentially an Ole Miss upset, played out just like most of the media had predicted. The unfortunate script was revealed earlier this evening and Alabama was on the raw end of a victory celebration. Ole Miss turned away the Tide by the score of 23-17.

-Click HERE for complete stats-

Personally, I felt that Alabama's offense was far too vanilla against the Rebels. While I wasn't expecting a circus show, I expected some creativity and far more overall consistency.

In respect to Alabama's defense, the Tide held strong in the first half, but when the chips were down in the second half, the 'Bama secondary simply had no answer for the Ole Miss passing game. A Rebel passing game that sealed the victory in the final minutes of play.

Another note of collapse was that of Alabama's special teams...

Many comparisons were made during today's game to that of Alabama/South Carolina in 2010. Now that everything has been said and done, today's contest was virtually identical to that afternoon in Columbia. A sluggish Crimson Tide team was defeated by a hungry squad with something to prove and a quarterback looking for his moment in the sun.

Once the agony of today's defeat melts away, the picture will reveal that Alabama has a lot to play for in 2014, which still includes the ultimate prize. However, in this moment, the Ole Miss Rebels have slayed the giant.

Be sure to visit your choice of postgame stories found in the various RSS feeds on the left side of the page. Click the video below to hear Nick Saban's thoughts on today's game as well as an injury update on various players, most notably that of Kenyan Drake.

TomTom Go Confidently

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Changes to The Crimson Elephant

Since The Crimson Elephant was born in 2009, the goal of this site has been to provide the reader with practice reports, injury reports, game previews, postgame recaps, breaking news, recruiting updates, etc., concerning the University of Alabama football program.

However, after much deliberation, The Crimson Elephant will now focus on commentary and opinions in respect to the above coverage instead of attempting to actually provide the above coverage.

The Crimson Elephant is simply a blog and because of that fact, with only one person steering the ship, the site will now provide RSS feeds, in the left column of the main page, for all the wonderful content created by the paid beat writers who cover the Crimson Tide.

Want the latest practice report? Scroll the RSS feeds. Want the latest game preview of the Tide's next opponent? Scroll the RSS feeds. Want to know what The Crimson Elephant thinks about the latest news? Read the various blog posts.

That subtle change noted above will be enough to dramatically shift the landscape of this blog. Instead of giving the reader the latest injury news, The Crimson Elephant will now provide first person commentary regarding the latest injury news. Reporting is over. Thoughts and opinions are in.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this blog over the years. Here's to many more adventures together while riding The Crimson Elephant.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Alabama's aerial assault proves too much for Florida

Lane Kiffin's offense has once again proved to be too much for the opposition. Courtesy of 445 yards passing from Blake Sims and 201 yards receiving from Amari Cooper, the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled the Florida Gators by the score of 42-21.

While the performance was far from a thing of beauty, especially in the first half of play, the Crimson Tide were able to overcome four turnovers to break a 21-21 tie in the second half of action.

-Click HERE for complete stats-

Postgame news and notes

Some structure changes within the blog have caused a few hiccups in respect to organization and time, so I'll respectfully turn the game recap over to Alabama beat writer Marquavius Burnett. I also encourage you to visit Mr. Burnett's Twitter page ( for some impressive statistics concerning the Tide. Scroll through the first 15 tweets or so to find some great information.

Nick Saban's postgame presser

Tide coach Nick Saban addresses the media following Alabama's conference victory over Florida.

Looking ahead

While the Crimson Tide looked as messy as a mud hill for essentially half of the game against Florida, 'Bama was able to overcome a plethora of turnovers to still take control of the contest against UF and win by 21 points. The ability to overcome adversity, self-inflicted or otherwise, is one of the most defining traits of a quality team and Alabama was certainly tested against the Gators.

Given the minor injury to Blake Sims and the typical bumps and bruises that come from playing the first four games of the season, Alabama's idle week is coming at the perfect time. The Crimson Tide will have the opportunity to heal while also improving basic fundamentals and scheming for the Ole Miss Rebels.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Game Preview: Florida - Alabama

The 2014 SEC season has arrived for the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators will be the first test in what promises to be yet another challenging and grueling SEC schedule.

Hungry for an upset, as are most teams that tangle with the Tide, Alabama will have to rise to the occasion in order to send the Gators back to Gainesville with a loss.

Betting Line: Alabama -14.5 (as of 9/17)

-Click HERE to track the line-

Florida Gators

After being delayed a full week due to their season-opener being scratched because of severe weather, Florida will enter Bryant-Denny Stadium with a record of 2-0.

Defeating Eastern Michigan by the score of 65-0 following the game that wasn't, the Gators were taken to three overtimes at home by the much improved and unrelenting Kentucky Wildcats.

While UF will test Alabama like no other team has this season, it has yet to be seen how the Gators truly stack up against top competition. Is Kentucky really that good or is Florida still the same sour team that went 4-8 in 2013? Only time will tell.

Quarterback Jeff Driskel, running backs Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, and defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III are five key players for Florida. In the contest with Kentucky, Robinson caught 15 passes for 216 yards and what would be the game saving touchdown in the initial overtime session.

Alabama Crimson Tide

In respect to Alabama the message is quite clear. Keep doing what you're doing...only at a higher level. Luckily for the Crimson Tide, with the possible exception of the secondary, most notably corner, UA doesn't have any glaring issues to handle.

Blake Sims, once again, will get the start at quarterback this weekend and unless something major happens Jake Coker will be relegated to spectator status.

Excluding a victory, which is obviously the goal for any and every game, one of the most important aspects for Alabama will involve building a tighter team chemistry and perhaps a better rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. The Tide defense will obviously need to be more physical in order to take care of the Gators. Forcing a few turnovers would be just what the doctor ordered.

Game nuggets

-As noted in the Southern Mississippi postgame blog, safety Nick Perry will miss the first half of Saturday's contest with Florida due to his targeting ejection against USM.

-Wide receiver DeAndrew White is expected to return to the lineup this weekend after being out of action for two weeks due to a separated shoulder.

-Safety Jarrick Williams, who underwent foot surgery following the West Virginia game, has not officially been ruled out by Nick Saban in respect to the Florida contest. Williams was originally projected to miss four weeks of action.

-True freshman defensive back Tony Brown has been working opposite Cyrus Jones in practice with the first team defense. Will that translate to a starting role for Brown this weekend? It is certainly worth a watch. Nick Saban said (Wednesday presser) that Brown will play substantial minutes against Florida.

-As noted above when discussing UA's quarterback situation, Nick Saban has noted that Jake Coker will only play against Florida if needed. Logic suggests that Blake Sims will play every meaningful snap against the Gators based on Saban's remarks.


While Alabama is the better team, often times the glow of such a big stage can get the best of players. Although the contest with Florida is not a high pressure "all eyes on Tuscaloosa" affair, this will be the first start for Blake Sims against SEC competition. All it takes is a rough first quarter to be placed behind the eight ball.

As for Florida, one would think that UF's close encounter with Kentucky would essentially prove that Will Muschamp's struggles of 2013 have carried over to 2014, but that's very hard to say. Perhaps UF just had a bad (fluke) game against a Kentucky team they potentially took for granted.

The Crimson Tide are favored to beat Florida by two touchdowns and logic would suggest such a betting line would be accurate.

If UF manages to keep the game close, the final narrative will be more about Alabama's struggles than Florida's new found stability. As is the case in most games during the Saban era, all the pressure will be on the Crimson Tide simply because so much is expected.

Only in this current age of Alabama football can a victory feel like a loss. If said victory falls short of the standard of excellence which has been in place for several seasons, a faction of people will always walk away unsatisfied.

Saturday's game could be one of those "win it on the scoreboard and lose it in the feelings" scenario for some.

--- Alabama 27 Florida 13 ---

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sims and rushing attack lead Alabama over Southern Miss

Courtesy of 547 yards of total offense, 333 on the ground, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles by the score of 52-12.

While UA looked a tad sluggish in the early stages of the contest, the Crimson Tide gave USM "the business" in the second stanza.

-Click HERE for complete stats-

Postgame news and notes

In this abbreviated game recap, Alabama beat writer Marquavius Burnett has the rest of today's story from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Nick Saban's postgame presser

Tide coach Nick Saban shares his thoughts following Alabama's victory over Southern Mississippi.

Looking ahead

Alabama will begin the 2014 SEC season next Saturday with a clash against the Florida Gators.

While UF did have one heck of a time against the Kentucky Wildcats, eventually winning the game in three overtime sessions, the contest against Will Muschamp's Florida club will be a great litmus test for Alabama.

How good is Blake Sims under the hot lights of the SEC? Can Sims react accordingly when playmaker Amari Cooper isn't open? Can the Tide defense get pressure on Florida's mobile quarterback while playing sound pass coverage? How will the loss of safety Nick Perry impact Alabama during the first two quarters? Those are just a few questions that Alabama will attempt to answer next weekend.

Is an upset possible? Certainly. The Crimson Tide have had several kinks in the water flow even against inferior competition, so the eyes of the nation will certainly be on Tuscaloosa for a number of reasons.

Alabama's true identity remains a mystery. Fans and pundits alike will find out what the Tide is made of in the very near future.

TomTom Go Confidently

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Game Preview: Southern Mississippi - Alabama

After thumping the Florida Atlantic Owls by the tune of 41-0, the Alabama Crimson Tide will return to Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday to tangle with the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

While 'Bama is listed as almost a 50-point favorite, we can officially proclaim that Southern Mississippi is not the same team that your older brother grew up watching.

Expect the contest with USM to play out in virtually the same fashion as the game with FAU did just one week ago. Rotating quarterbacks and a clearing of the bench will likely be the rule of the day once kickoff strikes at 5 p.m. central time.

Betting Line: Alabama -48 (as of 9/10)

-Click HERE to track the line-

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

USM, under head coach Larry Fedora, concluded the 2011 season with a record of 12-2. All was right with the world.

And then the record stopped...

Fedora, quite the hot name in coaching at the time, departed for North Carolina and Southern Mississippi would embark on a downward spiral of epic proportions.

Ellis Johnson, the current defensive coordinator at Auburn, took over the USM program in 2012 as Fedora's replacement. Johnson led the Golden Eagles to an 0-12 season. 12-2 to 0-12. Almost seems impossible.

When Johnson was fired at the end of the season, Todd Monken, USM's current head coach, took over the program. Posting a record of 1-11 in 2013, the Golden Eagles were losers of 23 consecutive games before defeating UAB to end the 2013 season. USM was only four quarters away from having back-to-back winless seasons.

Again...these aren't your older brother's USM Golden Eagles.

As for the present, Southern Miss will enter Tuscaloosa with a record of 1-1. After losing to Mississippi State by the score of 49-0 in the season opener, the Golden Eagles rebounded in week two and held off Alcorn State 26-20.

The quest for positivity is currently a struggle in Hattiesburg when it comes to the USM football program. Whatever Larry Fedora discovered at Southern Miss when he led the Golden Eagles to a 12-2 season, he took it with him when he left.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama showed moderate improvement from week one to week two, but the level of competition likely played a major role in that observation.

In respect to this Saturday, as noted in the introduction, expect the Crimson Tide to essentially pick up where they left off against Florida Atlantic. Think of Saturday's game as the fifth quarter of the FAU contest.

Expect Blake Sims and Jake Coker to see ample time at the quarterback position and also look for younger players to see significant minutes in an effort to season the squad as a whole. A little spice never hurt a thing and bland teams don't win big games.

Speaking of big games, the Crimson Tide will tangle with Florida the week following the contest with USM, so this Saturday is the final opportunity to break out the ironing board and get rid of the wrinkles.

Game nuggets

-While wide receiver DeAndrew White (shoulder) did return to practice this week, Nick Saban informed the media, via Wednesday's SEC teleconference, that White will not play against Southern Mississippi.

-After exiting the contest with Florida Atlantic due to a bruised ankle, wide receiver Christion Jones should be ready for action this weekend against USM.


As mentioned above, Alabama's contest with Southern Mississippi is essentially the fifth quarter of the Florida Atlantic game.

Expect the Tide to control the contest while working on the basic fundamentals that will become so very important once conference season begins Sept. 20.

USM receives a check and Alabama improves to 3-0.

--- Alabama 56 Southern Mississippi 7 ---


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Alabama defeats Florida Atlantic in weather-shortened game

While the game was called with 7:53 remaining, the competition on the field was actually over by the end of the first quarter.

Courtesy of 400-plus yards through the air and a stingy defense, the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled the Florida Atlantic Owls by the score of 41-0.

-Click HERE for complete stats-

Sims and Coker

While Blake Sims once again looked sharp and confident at the quarterback position, Jake Coker looked rather lukewarm in his first game while playing significant minutes.

As has been noted on countless occasions, although Coker looks the part of a potent quarterback and probably has more talent than Sims, Coker's outing against FAU was marred by mental mistakes and a couple of time management blunders.

Sims knows the system, while Coker is a work in progress. Having said that, Coker, all things considered, had a nice afternoon in the numbers department.

Blake Sims 11/13 214 yards 2 TDs (Also rushed for a TD)
Jake Coker 15/24 202 yards 1 TD

Cooper shines again

For the second consecutive week, Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper had an all-world performance. After catching a total of 12 passes for 130 yards against West Virginia, Cooper snagged 13 receptions for 189 yards and one touchdown against FAU.

Eddie Jackson is back

Barring injury, defensive back Bradley Sylve will likely never play another significant minute for the Crimson Tide this season.

Why? Enter Eddie Jackson...

The star sophomore, who didn't see the field against West Virginia, took over the starting role against FAU and didn't disappoint. Jackson had a solid outing in respect to pass coverage while lowing the boom on several Florida Atlantic receivers and running backs.

Jackson, who tore his ACL in early April, appears to be the new starting corner for the long run, opposite Cyrus Jones.

Nick Saban's postgame presser

Tide coach Nick Saban shares his thoughts following Alabama's victory over Florida Atlantic.

Looking ahead

Next Saturday Alabama will tangle with Southern Mississippi, so Tide fans will likely see more of the same in respect to significant personnel rotations.

When it comes to the quarterback battle, Saban and company will likely play Coker and Sims in the same fashion they did against FAU. Barring something insane, the Crimson Tide should have a handle on USM by the second quarter...if not sooner.

While the competition, in respect to FAU, wasn't very stiff, Alabama looked much better from a fundamental standpoint. As noted in the game preview, Alabama biggest competition would be Alabama, and that was exactly the case.

Continued growth and maturity will be critical for the Tide as conference play begins in two weeks with a home clash against Florida.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Game Preview: Florida Atlantic - Alabama

After defeating the West Virginia Mountaineers in week one of the college football season, the Alabama Crimson Tide will face the Florida Atlantic Owls this Saturday to open the home campaign.

While the contest with FAU is nothing more than an easy win for the Tide and a cash grab for the Owls, both squads will use the game to develop players as well as teach fundamentals.

In respect to Alabama, the glorified scrimmage against Florida Atlantic will be a great opportunity for Nick Saban to rotate a plethora of talent while getting a read on the Tide's issues in the secondary.

The game will also serve as a way to truly evaluate the quarterback situation, as Jake Coker will likely see significant playing time against FAU.

Betting Line: Alabama -40 (as of 9/3)

-Click HERE to track the line-

Florida Atlantic Owls

Falling to Nebraska by the score of 55-7 in week one of the season, the Owls gave up a grand total of 784 yards to the Cornhuskers. 286 yards through the air and 498 on the ground. Ugly.

As noted above, the contest with Alabama is a game FAU simply can't win, but that's okay. The Owls, who reside in the Conference USA, are simply looking to clash with a few big boys in an effort to get a few big checks. Its a cycle that was set in motion many, many moons ago.

Nothing against FAU, but truth be told, especially after being thumped by Nebraska, if FAU can hang with Alabama, even for a quarter, that will tell more about Alabama's deficiencies than FAU's ability.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Who's the quarterback? Who are the defensive backs?

Those are the two most glaring questions entering Saturday's contest, and hopefully, at least in some measure, both issues will have a clearer resolution by the time the final horn sounds.

While Blake Sims played every meaningful snap against West Virginia, Jake Coker will get his time in the sun against FAU. What will happen is a mystery, but his time will be granted, we can all rest assured on that one.

In respect to the defensive situation within the secondary, that question won't be so easily answered.

Or will it...

Bradley Sylve looked awful against West Virginia, so expect Eddie Jackson to play and perhaps start against Florida Atlantic. Crimson Tide defensive backs being out of position was arguably the biggest (negative) story exiting the Georgia Dome.

Expect Alabama to play a ton of players against FAU, so the right combination, in respect to the Tide cornerbacks, could be discovered this weekend even though the opposition won't be SEC caliber.

Game nuggets

-Wide receiver DeAndrew White will be out at least two weeks due to a separated shoulder.

-Safety Jarrick Williams will be out at least four weeks after sustaining a fractured foot which required surgery.

-Brandon Greene, at least for this week, has been moved from the offensive line to tight end. Greene was moved to tight end last season before returning to the o-line this spring.

-As noted above, Eddie Jackson has replaced Bradley Sylve in the starting rotation. Jackson has worked opposite Cyrus Jones all week, while Sylve has been demoted to the second team.

-Trey DePriest will make his season debut this weekend against Florida Atlantic after being suspended for the season opener by the NCAA.


Better overall fundamentals from the Crimson Tide is the prediction. Alabama can play like garbage and still win by three touchdowns, but Nick Saban wants to see improvement and hopefully UA will meet the challenge.

Playing to the standard will be Alabama's opponent this weekend, not FAU.

--- Alabama 56 Florida Atlantic 7 ---

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blake Sims shines as Alabama defeats West Virginia

Football, as in life, is essentially a mixed bag of breaks and opportunities. When it came to the Alabama/West Virginia contest, Blake Sims made the most of a well-earned opportunity and West Virginia received a plethora of bad breaks. When the contents were mixed together in a four quarter blender, the Crimson Tide held off the pesky Mountaineers by the score of 33-23.

-Click HERE for complete stats-

High Tide and low Tide

On the Alabama side of the equation, the two stories of note were the 250 yard passing performance by Blake Sims and UA's lackluster pass defense. While Sims, in his first collegiate start, played as solid as anyone could have dreamed, the Crimson Tide defense, especially the secondary, picked up where it left off against Oklahoma. If Sims had a dream debut, the Crimson Tide defense had a nightmare. Allowing 393 total yards, 365 through the air, Alabama's secondary is still one of the biggest question marks entering the second week of the season.

Four quarter Sims

In respect to the aforementioned Sims and the Alabama quarterback situation in general, Saturday's contest at the Georgia Dome belonged to the fifth-year senior. While Jake Coker did warm up on one occasion, the Florida State transfer was a spectator against West Virginia. Although Sims, especially early, missed a couple of open throws, he was calm and collected against the Mountaineers and appeared to feed off Lane Kiffin's stoic demeanor. In total, Alabama garnered 538 yards of total offense.

Super Cooooooooooper

As noted in the prior embedded tweet which included the outstanding ground efforts of Derrick Henry and T.J Yeldon, wide receiver Amari Cooper proved to be Blake Sims' primary target against WVU. In what looked like an audition for the Atlanta Falcons, Cooper grabbed essentially every pass thrown in his direction and concluded the game with statistics worthy of the Alabama record book.

West Virginia butterfingers

In respect to West Virginia, the Mountaineers probably deserved better. Perhaps even a victory. While the Alabama secondary seemed to allow big play after big play, WVU had several dropped balls that could have easily changed the complexion of the game. Granted, Blake Sims had a few missed opportunities as well, but West Virginia seemed to encounter a self-inflicted pitfall every other drive. When the day was done, quarterback Clint Trickett had thrown for 365 yards and one touchdown, but his numbers should have been better. For a bulk of the contest Alabama's best defense in the secondary came in the form of WVU wide receivers dropping catchable passes. Those speaking with an objective voice would likely agree.

Nick Saban's postgame presser

Coach Saban shares his overall thoughts on Alabama's hard-fought victory against West Virginia and provides an injury update in respect to wide receiver DeAndrew White.

Looking ahead

Nick Saban is a teacher, and with Alabama's mixed bag in terms of overall performance against West Virginia, Saban and his entire coaching staff now have a laundry list of things to improve upon as the Crimson Tide move forward.

It shouldn't take much film evaluation to notice that 'Bama's weakest link is found in the secondary in respect to pass coverage. Alabama, for whatever the reason(s), still look like deer in headlights when it comes to facing an uptempo air raid system. Too many times West Virginia receivers were essentially wide open. That fact alone makes the aforementioned point about WVU's dropped passes even more critical. Who knows how things would have played out had Trickett received some help.

After week one, Alabama is a good team. Perhaps a very good team, but certainly not a great team. Over the course of the next two weeks, against much inferior competition, the Crimson Tide should be able to work out the kinks before rejoining the fold in respect to clashing with formidable oppositions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Game Preview: Alabama - West Virginia

The 2014 college football season has arrived and for the Alabama Crimson Tide, like so many times since 2008, that means a trip to the Georgia Dome to participate in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Having clashed with Clemson in 2008, Virginia Tech in 2009, and Virginia Tech once again in 2013, the Crimson Tide will now tangle with Dana Holgorsen's West Virginia Mountaineers.

Betting Line: Alabama -26 (as of 8/27)

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West Virginia Mountaineers

While the No. 2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the Georgia Dome this Saturday with confidence and the expectations of yet another special season, the West Virginia Mountaineers are likely just searching for the right ingredients to guarantee a winning season.

After going 4-8 in 2013, 2-7 in the Big 12, and losing six of their final seven contests, the Mountaineers can only get better in 2014. While West Virginia does return starting quarterback Clint Trickett, the Mountaineers are still searching for a significant remedy on the defensive side of the ball. Giving up an average of 33.3 points per contest, West Virginia ranked 100th in the nation in respect to scoring defense in 2013.

On the positive side of life in respect to Saturday, West Virginia runs a high octane/air raid offense, the type of offense that has been known to give Alabama fits in recent years. Catching the Crimson Tide off guard will likely be a way for the Mountaineers to combat the fact they're simply not as talented, one-on-one, as Alabama.

Alabama Crimson Tide

The biggest talk around the Alabama program is the quarterback situation and rightfully so. Nick Saban, at least at the time of publication, has yet to confirm that Blake Sims will get the starting nod against West Virginia, but several reputable media outlets seem to think Sims is the man.

As was the case in the 2011 season opener when AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims juggled time, expect both Blake Sims and Jacob Coker to be utilized in a similar fashion against the Mountaineers.

In respect to the other aspects of the Crimson Tide when it comes to week one, Alabama's offensive line, though shaken up a tad due to injuries in preseason camp, should be quite formidable against WVU. However, chances do exist that UA's line could be in for a minor makeover during the first month of the season.

As was the case in 2013, the Tide secondary is once again a question mark, most notably the cornerbacks. Cyrus Jones and Bradley Sylve will get the start against West Virginia, and like most things, the proof will be in the pudding as to how long they're able to maintain those starting roles in the weeks to come. Alabama hasn't had a true lockdown corner since Dee Milliner in 2012.

Game nuggets

-West Virginia starting cornerback Ishmael "Ickey" Banks will miss the contest against Alabama due to suspension. Banks had 32 tackles and two interceptions last season.

-Per Nick Saban, linebacker Trey DePriest has been suspended for the contest against West Virginia due to a minor NCAA infraction. DePriest's suspension is only for one game.

-Per Nick Saban, offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will coach from the field.

-Jacob Coker stands between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-6, while Blake Sims is only 6-feet tall. While many differences between Coker and Sims have been discussed, the issue of height, especially while standing in the pocket looking over the offensive line, is something that hasn't been discussed very much in the media, if at all. Will Sims have issues seeing downfield while standing in the pocket? It is certainly worthy of conversation and observation. As a point of reference, Johnny Manziel is also listed at 6-feet tall.


While Alabama does have some questions, they're the type of questions that 99% of all teams in major college football would love to have.

Although West Virginia is a respectable opponent, and they should have a better season than the 4-8 campaign of 2013, the Mountaineers are simply light years away from Alabama when it comes to individual talent.

The Tide is almost a four touchdown favorite and that seems about right.

--- Alabama 38 West Virginia 10 ---

Friday, August 22, 2014

Alabama Analysis: New faces highlight Tide special teams

With the departure of kicker Cade Foster and punter Cody Mandell, the Alabama special teams unit will undergo an extreme makeover this season.

Prominent players

H - Cooper Bateman or Alec Morris
K - Adam Griffith
LS - Cole Mazza
P - JK Scott
KR/PR - Christion Jones

Potential kick/punt returners (In addition to C. Jones)

Chris Black
Tony Brown
Marlon Humphrey
Cyrus Jones
ArDarius Stewart
DeAndrew White

Departures from 2013

K - Cade Foster
KR/PR - Dee Hart (Transferred)
P - Cody Mandell
H - AJ McCarron

-New holder
-New kicker
-New punter

Does that qualify as an extreme makeover? Well, in the world of special teams play, it certainly does.

For the time being, which is obviously subject to change, it appears that either Cooper Bateman or Alec Morris, both backup quarterbacks on the Tide roster, will replace AJ McCarron as the holder on field goal and extra point attempts.

In respect to kicker, Cade Foster has graduated, which means Adam Griffith will take the wheel in 2014. Kicking in spot duty last season, and most noted for his "Hail Mary" against Auburn which was returned 109-yards for the game-winning touchdown, the job is Griffith's to lose.

The Alabama punting department will meet the same fate as the field goal unit. Due to the graduation of Cody Mandell, freshman JK Scott will take over the skyscraping duties. Scott, per reports, has garnered high praise from head coach Nick Saban, and like Griffith in respect to field goal duties, the job at punter is Scott's to lose. Prior to Scott's arrival, backup quarterback Alec Morris did the punting during Alabama's spring game.

When it comes to the return game, Christion Jones is the man, but don't assume it will stay that way. This unit always has a chance to be shuffled simply based on in-game production. If (big if) Jones were to have various issues in regards to catching the ball and/or fielding/returning treacherous punts or kickoffs, a change would certainly be made. Wide receivers Chris Black and DeAndrew White are the most viable options in the return game to complement Jones, as well as freshman defensive back Tony Brown.

Many times in college football, the special teams unit is essentially invisible until a costly mistake is made. Lack of fundamentals within the group always has the potential to change the complexion of a game.

Speaking in general terms, as well as for Alabama, not every kickoff or punt has to be returned for a touchdown, and not every 50-yard field goal has to split the posts. Take care of the basics and “routine” plays, and let the offense/defense take care of the rest.

Don’t be a hero, just execute the fundamentals.

Unit rating: 8/10


Alabama Analysis: CB play will decide fate of 'Bama secondary

While Crimson Tide fans and media pundits continue to talk about Alabama's quarterback controversy, and rightfully so, arguably the biggest concern for the 2014 Alabama squad is the secondary.

For yet another season, most notably at the cornerback position, justified cause for concern is still warranted. As was the case in 2013, Alabama won't enter the season with a proven lockdown corner.

Expect the Crimson Tide to utilize a host of players in the secondary this season, especially if the core group is not as productive as the coaching staff would like.

Prominent players

Landon Collins
Eddie Jackson
Cyrus Jones
Nick Perry
Geno Smith
Maurice Smith
Bradley Sylve
Jarrick Williams

Emerging talent 

Anthony Averett
Jonathan Cook
Jabriel Washington

Tony Brown (True Freshman)
Ronnie Clark (True Freshman)
Marlon Humphrey (True Freshman)
Laurence "Hootie" Jones (True Freshman)

Departures from 2013

Deion Belue
HaHa Clinton-Dix
John Fulton
Jai Miller (Left the team)
Vinnie Sunseri

While losing HaHa Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri is a substantial blow to the Crimson Tide secondary, the bright spot is found in the positions they held. Safety...

Fortunately for Alabama, the safety position, both free and strong, will likely be the strongest point of the secondary for yet another season. With players like Landon Collins, Nick Perry, Geno Smith, and Jarrick Williams, UA is in solid hands.

In respect to the cornerback position, as noted earlier, when fans and pundits talk about the Tide secondary, they're really just talking about the lack of proven leadership and success at cornerback.

While Deion Belue and John Fulton are the two departures from the 2013 squad, with all due respect and honesty, both players struggled. To say that Belue and Fulton will be missed will likely not be the case, considering that neither player, at least in 2013, proved to be irreplaceable assets at corner.

As of right now, it would appear that Cyrus Jones and Bradley Sylve will get the starting nod at the corner spots (base defense) entering the season, but as mentioned, expect the Tide to use a heavy rotation, especially if the named starters prove to be ineffective. Look for Eddie Jackson and Maurice Smith, who both saw respectable action last season, to play a significant role for the Tide this fall. In respect to freshmen, one certainly can't eliminate the possibility of Tony Brown and/or Marlon Humphrey getting an opportunity, especially if the upperclassmen fail to get the job done.

From top-to-bottom, the Crimson Tide secondary, most notably the safeties, will be solid, but as mentioned ad nauseam, the real areas of concern are the corners. At least for the time being, the days of a lockdown cover man such as Dre Kirkpatrick or Dee Milliner, seem to be over. Someone, whether it be an upperclassman like Bradley Sylve, or a youngster like Eddie Jackson, will have to prove they have what it takes to stay on the field.

Guarantee, without a shadow of a doubt, 'Bama oppositions will test the edges until the Tide defensive backs can prove they're able to make plays on a consistent basis.

Unit rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Alabama Analysis: Tide linebackers begin life without Mosley

When it comes to the Alabama linebackers in respect to the 2014 season, one can't talk about the present without touching on the past.

C.J. Mosley, one of the greatest linebackers in program history, has moved on to the NFL, which means the present will have to deal with his absence. While Mosley was only one man, he was the signal caller of the defense and the ultimate team leader.

Will current stars like Trey DePriest and Denzel Devall have what it takes to fill the void left by Mosley? The nation will be watching...

Prominent players

Trey DePriest
Denzel Devall
Xzavier Dickson
Reggie Ragland

Emerging talent

Ryan Anderson
Rashaan Evans (True Freshman)
Reuben Foster
Shaun Dion Hamilton (True Freshman)
Keith Holcombe (True Freshman)
Walker Jones
Dillon Lee
Christian Miller (True Freshman)
Tim Williams

Departures from 2013

LaMichael Fanning (Transferred)
Adrian Hubbard
C.J. Mosley
Tana Patrick

While the aforementioned DePriest and Devall have the experience and leadership to lead the Tide linebackers, as per usual, 'Bama is loaded with hard-hitting young talented.

Expect Xzavier Dickson and Reggie Ragland to become national household names before 2014 is over, and look for Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster, and Dillon Lee to play ample minutes this season as well. Given Alabama's defensive structure, as many as seven or eight players could make a significant contribution this season.

In respect to true freshmen, and who will play and who will receive a redshirt, Shaun Dion Hamilton appears to be the young man who will enter Alabama's rotation this season. Granted, that doesn't guarantee Rashaan Evans, Keith Holcombe, and Christian Miller will all be redshirted, but odds suggests that at least one or two will likely be held out of action until 2015.

The loss of C.J. Mosley will be felt, because it is simply unavoidable. However, Alabama has leadership, proven talent, and eager young guns who will collectively form one of the best unit of linebackers in the SEC, if not the country. Expect big plays and hard hits from this bunch.

Unit rating: 8.5/10

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Alabama Analysis: Tide set to release mean D-line in 2014

When it comes to solid and talented, look no further than Alabama's defensive front. While the Tide did lose two talented playmakers in the person of Jeoffrey Pagan and Ed Stinson, 'Bama has more than enough horses to carry the load this fall.

As is always the case with any team and specific group, health and depth will play a major role in terms of success. While Alabama does have some inexperience when it comes to various backup roles, the young men who are expected to be major contributors are no strangers to the Crimson Tide system.
Prominent players

Jonathan Allen
Brandon Ivory
Darren Lake
D.J. Pettway (Defensive end/Linebacker)
Jarran Reed
A'Shawn Robinson
Dalvin Tomlinson

Emerging talent

Josh Frazier (True Freshman)
Da'Shawn Hand (True Freshman)
Korren Kirven
Dee Liner
Anthony Orr

Departures from 2013

Dakota Ball (Moved to Tight End)
Wilson Love (Left the team)
Jeoffrey Pagan
Ed Stinson

Courtesy of offseason issues, and injuries during preseason camp, the Alabama defensive front, in respect to probable starters, was thrown for a loop. Nose guard Brandon Ivory, who was the primary starter in 2013, and JUCO transfer Jarran Reed, who was expected to fill a void at defensive end, were both suspended as preseason camp commenced.

Although Ivory and Reed have been reinstated, and have been on the practice field for a couple of weeks, Nick Saban has relegated them to a distant spot on the depth chart, at least for the time being.
On the injury front, A'Shawn Robinson has missed the bulk of camp due to a sprained knee. His status, in respect to the opening game of the season, is very much a question mark at this time.

In respect to the starters in Alabama’s base 3-4 defense, in terms of West Virginia, Darren Lake, D.J. Pettway, and Jonathan Allen will likely be the main trio. However, quite obviously, who will actually take the field for Alabama's first defensive snap is still a crapshoot. The injury to Robinson, coupled with the noted suspensions, have made 'Bama's starting front quite the mystery.
As for the backup line, expect Dalvin Tomlinson to fuel a hungry and talented second unit. Given Alabama’s defensive system, the Crimson Tide rely on a solid second-team due to heavy rotations; so many players will need to be prepared for game action at any moment. Before it all plays out, D.J. Pettway, for example, could very well find himself in the regular starting rotation.

In regards to true freshmen, the jury is out, and will possibly remain out for several weeks. The first note of business is which players, if any, will receive a redshirt. The second point of contention will be the rotation in regards to the aforementioned freshmen. Da'Shawn Hand is likely to contribute this season, but who really knows how things will play out at this point. Alabama has four and five-star talent across the board on the defensive line, but “star ratings” certainly don’t always equate to college playing time and success. Playing time is earned…not given.
As a whole, Alabama is stout on the defensive front. While the Crimson Tide will have to "mold and shape" in terms of building solid chemistry and rotation, virtually every team in the nation would love to have 'Bama's "problems" right about now.

Roll Spoiled Roll!

Unit rating: 9/10


Monday, August 18, 2014

Alabama Analysis: Cooper leads talented unit of receivers

While Alabama's quarterback situation continues to be a prominent topic of discussion, the plethora of targets UA's eventual quarterback will have to throw to has been well established.

With arguably the best crop of receivers in the SEC, and quite possibly the nation before 2014 is over, 'Bama is poised to have a statistical juggernaut when it comes to the passing game if the Crimson Tide can cement a confident and efficient starting quarterback.

Blending familiar and proven talent with highly touted freshmen, UA will form what can only be considered a dream for the Crimson Tide offense, and a certifiable nightmare for any defensive secondary.

Prominent players

Amari Cooper (Wide Receiver)
Christion Jones (Wide Receiver)
DeAndrew White (Wide Receiver)

Jalston Fowler (Fullback/H-Back)
O.J. Howard (Tight End)
Brian Vogler (Tight End)

Emerging talent

Chris Black (Wide Receiver)
Raheem Falkins (Wide Receiver)
Robert Foster (Wide Receiver)
Derek Kief (Wide Receiver - True Freshman)
Cameron Sims (Wide Receiver - True Freshman)
ArDarius Stewart (Wide Receiver)

Dakota Ball (Tight End - Defensive lineman in 2013)
Malcolm Faciane (Tight End)
Ty Flournoy-Smith (Tight End - JUCO Transfer)
Kurt Freitag (Tight End)
Corey McCarron (Fullback/H-Back)

Departures from 2013

Kenny Bell (Wide Receiver)
Kevin Norwood (Wide Receiver)

Brandon Greene (Tight End - Returned to offensive line)
Harrison Jones (Tight End - Medical)

If Amari Cooper wasn't already the "headliner" of Alabama's talented receiving unit prior to this season, with the departure of playmaker Kevin Norwood, Cooper will almost certainly be the star attraction in 2014. Faced with lofty expectations as the season approaches, Cooper will be looked upon to make the big receptions at the most critical times.
Joining Cooper, to likely form Alabama's main trio, will be Christion Jones and DeAndrew White. Barring something unforeseen, Cooper, Jones, and White should garner most of the receptions in 2014. Chris Black will also vie for significant playing time as well, within this core unit.
In respect to the supporting cast at wide receiver, the talent pool is deep, yet the rotation is quite the mystery as of the present time. While too early to tell who will make an impact, and too early to tell which, if any, true freshmen will be given a redshirt, one can only speculate that players such as Robert Foster, Cameron Sims, and ArDarius Stewart will be three of the highly touted receivers who will contend for respectable minutes this season.

When it comes to the h-back/tight end position, which is still a vital tool within the Alabama passing game, expect O.J. Howard to have a huge season. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has a track record of utilizing the tight end in the passing game, so look for Howard, as well as Jalston Fowler, Brian Vogler, and potentially JUCO transfer Ty Flournoy-Smith to be on the receiving end of numerous passes this fall.
As was the case in 2013, Alabama is loaded at the receiver position. If the UA offensive line can be stout in the trenches, and the Crimson Tide can find a quarterback who is stable in the pocket, 'Bama certainly has the potential to make some serious waves in the passing game this season.

Unit rating: 9/10

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Alabama Analysis: Henry and Yeldon lead dynamic RB unit

Since Nick Saban began his tenure at the University of Alabama, the Crimson Tide running back unit has been more like a stable of horses bound for the Kentucky Derby.

Within two years, if not sooner, the "fresh face" in town becomes one of the most distinguished running backs in the nation. The notable list includes, Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon, and if the trend continues, Derrick Henry.

Granted, high school talent and "star ratings" aren't enough to guarantee collegiate success, but Nick Saban's "potential driven" attitude, coupled with the fundamental teaching of running backs coach Burton Burns, allows the crop of rushers who land at the Capstone to become some of the best backs in the nation.

Prominent players

Kenyan Drake
Jalston Fowler (Fullback)
Derrick Henry
T.J. Yeldon

Emerging talent

Tyren Jones
Corey McCarron (Fullback)
Altee Tenpenny

Departures from 2013

Dee Hart (Transferred)
Alvin Kamara (Transferred)

When it comes to the 2014 stable, Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon are the undeniable stars. Not to say that someone with the skill set of Kenyan Drake, for example, won't shine like a diamond when called upon, but entering the season, Henry and Yeldon are the two players who will likely garner the highest amount of attention.

As is commonplace with Nick Saban, Alabama loves the "package deal" at running back. Ingram/Richardson, Richardson/Lacy, and Lacy/Yeldon, proved to be three of the greatest running back duos in Crimson Tide history. Given the structure of the Alabama offense, Henry and Yeldon, will likely form the dynamic twosome in 2014.

With his sophomore year under his belt, expect the aforementioned Kenyan Drake to garner a healthy load of the carries this season. Working in spot duty in 2012, and as Yeldon's primary backup in 2013, Drake has shown moments of greatness with his balance and ability to read blocks along the offensive front.

2014 will mark the final season for Jalston Fowler. The "bull" of a back who missed essentially the entire 2012 campaign due to a knee injury, was moved to H-back in 2013 and will likely play fullback this fall. Known as a great blocker, Fowler also comes equipped with soft hands for his size, which makes him a great mid-range receiver out of the backfield. While Fowler is not likely to steal the show like Henry or Yeldon, the redshirt senior will be a vital tool for the Crimson Tide offense this season.

In respect to the remainder of the running back unit, sophomore Altee Tenpenny, redshirt freshman Tyren Jones, could each receive respectable playing time in 2014. Five-star signee Bo Scarbrough would have likely been a contributor this season, at least in some small measure, but the highly touted running back failed to qualify academically. Nick Saban has expressed his hope to have Scarbrough on campus by early 2015.

Unit rating: 9.5/10

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