Friday, June 27, 2014

'Bama should be in "good hands" this season at WR

While Alabama's quarterback situation will continue to be a prominent topic of discussion this offseason, 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
Christion Jones
DeAndrew White

Emerging talent

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

Departures from 2013

Kenny Bell
Kevin Norwood

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, 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 Raheem Falkins, Robert Foster, and Cameron Sims will be three of the highly touted receivers who will contend for respectable minutes this season.

As was the case in 2013, Alabama is loaded at wide receiver. 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 statistical history in the passing game this season.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Henry and Yeldon lead stable of hungry 'Bama RBs

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
Bo Scarbrough
Altee Tenpenny

Departures from 2013

Dee Hart (Left the team)
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, and true freshman Bo Scarbrough could each receive respectable playing time in 2014. Currently dealing with an academic issue, which is preventing him from enrolling at Alabama at this time, Bo Scarbrough is quite obviously the "wild card" of the group as of mid to late June.

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Derrick Henry looks to take center stage this fall

From the day Derrick Henry gave his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama, the future of Crimson Tide football, in respect to the running back position, was being shaped for future success.

Henry, the most prolific running back in the history of the high school ranks, from a statistical standpoint, is now poised to stake his claim as Alabama's starting running back for the 2014 season.

Spending most of the 2013 campaign on special teams, and at running back during "mop-up duty" in games that had already been decided, Henry finally earned his chance to steal the show on January 2, 2014 at the Sugar Bowl. While Alabama lost the showdown in New Orleans to a quality Oklahoma squad, Derrick Henry had his very own coming out party against the Sooners.
When practice resumes for Alabama in early August, all eyes will definitely be on Henry, but the pride of Yulee, Florida simply won't be handed the starting job by default. Under head coach Nick Saban, only those who have earned the field, take the field. Henry will obviously be no exception. Tide fans, and college football fans in general, have seen how various cases of fumbleitis have caused even the best 'Bama running backs to be relegated to spectator status, so nothing is ever a sure thing.

In respect to the Crimson Tide's stable at running back, Henry will join standout T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake, Altee Tenpenny, Tyren Jones, Bo Scarbrough, and the monstrous running back/h-back hybrid known as Jalston Fowler. While Henry and Yeldon will likely share "A and A1" duties in a rotating backfield, nothing is ever written in stone, especially when it comes to what Nick Saban expects from his players.

With Henry's skill set, coupled with his size, standing 6-foot-3 and topping the scale at 238-pounds, No. 27 is certainly in position to follow in the collegiate footsteps of Alabama success stories such as Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Eddie Lacy.

Quite obviously, only time will tell in respect to the final mark Henry will leave on the Crimson Tide football program, but what is not in dispute is that the most promising running back on Alabama's current roster has all the intangibles to become one of the greatest players to ever wear the crimson and white.

SEC Media Days expands, 2014 itinerary announced

While college football fans must wait another 70-plus days for the 2014 season to officially begin, the media frenzy, in respect to the SEC, will commence July 14.

Expanding from a three-day event to a four-day spectacle, the 2014 installment of SEC Media Days will not only provide nuggets of information to fans and media alike, the event, as usual, will host every SEC head coach as well as player representatives from each institution.

While The Wynfrey Hotel, in Hoover, Alabama, will once again provide the tent for this annual media circus, SEC Media Days will serve as not only a gathering place for news and conversation, it will also serve as a reminder that college football, and more importantly SEC football, is just around the corner.
The text below is the itinerary for the 2014 edition of SEC Media Days. While individual coaches have been included, player representation for each school has not been provided at this time.


Session I: 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

SEC Commissioner - Mike Slive
Auburn - Head Coach Gus Malzahn

Session II: 2:40 - 5:40 p.m.

Florida - Head Coach Will Muschamp
Vanderbilt - Head Coach Derek Mason


Session I: 9 a.m. - Noon

South Carolina - Head Coach Steve Spurrier
Mississippi State - Head Coach Dan Mullen

Session II: 1 - 4 p.m.

Texas A&M - Head Coach Kevin Sumlin
Tennessee - Head Coach Butch Jones


Session I: 9 a.m. - Noon

SEC Coordinator of Officials - Steve Shaw
ESPN Senior Vice President/SEC Network - Justin Connolly
Missouri - Head Coach Gary Pinkel

Session II: 1 - 4 p.m.

LSU - Head Coach Les Miles
Arkansas - Head Coach Bret Bielema


Session I: 9 a.m. - Noon

Georgia - Head Coach Mark Richt
Ole Miss - Head Coach Hugh Freeze

Session II: Noon - 3 p.m.

Alabama - Head Coach Nick Saban
Kentucky - Head Coach Mark Stoops

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