I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. Last week I was host to the Crimson & White Roundtable and here is a rundown of the discussion. Some good insight from Alabama football blogs. Enjoy.
1. Is Alabama on the verge of a quarterback controversy? The backup quarterback is always a fan favorite, but A.J. McCarron posted good stats from the first spring scrimmage. What are the chances he some significant playing time in 2010? Would that be good or bad?
Todd at Roll Bama Roll: I doubt there could even be a true QB controversy between McElroy and McCarron at this point. Say what you will about McElroy during the middle of last season, he has an SEC ring, a National Title ring, and hasn’t lost a game in like 43 years so I sincerely doubt there is a single person* out there thinking to himself “if we’d ditch that damn McElroy kid we might really have something next season.” Once the season starts, though, all bets are off, especially if McElroy has any struggles resembling his mid-season slump from last year. If that happens, don’t think he won’t get pulled for McCarron if the coaches think he gives the team the best shot at winning.
And even though this isn’t really what they had in mind with “QB Controversy” I tend to think that at some point, should Star Jackson stick it out in Tuscaloosa, there could very well be a growing controversy surrounding why he isn’t getting on the field. We’ve said over and over again on this blog and in Yea Alabama that Jackson isn’t a “running QB,” he’s a pocket passer that’s also a good athlete, but considering the thought “why don’t we let Jackson run the Wildcat?” has popped into my head a few times I know it’s had to have occurred to someone else. With McElroy entrenched and McCarron seemingly the next great ‘Bama QB (and Phillip Sims right there behind him), if Jackson is going to stay at Alabama and a) really wants to get on the field and b) has proven to the coaches that he deserves a shot at being a part of the offense, then running the Wildcat/option may be the only way it’s going to happen.
* there are undoubtedly people thinking this exact thing on an al.com message board right now, but we don’t like to consider them “people.”
Picture Me Rollin: Saban has shown throughout his career that he will stand behind the starter. McElroy is a proven commodity at this point, will be a two-year starter, and has what no other signal caller in the country has: a National Championship Ring. So unless he’s injured (God forbid) he’s going to start and see the majority of the snaps. If there is any issue I have with Saban, it’s that he doesn’t let the backup QB play enough and I’m always scared of what will happen in an injury situation. I just don’t see anybody other than GMac getting a lot of game work. That’s good if he continues the way he’s been going and bad if he gets injured but either way I have no problem with it.
Tower of Bammer: Controversy? Verge? No way another QB starts next year with a healthy McElroy. That said, how healthy was McElroy last year? Were nagging injuries the reason for his midseason Ike/Tina act? Alabama has been pretty lucky with starting quarterback injuries since the glass-elbowed Croyle era, an era long past, when Velociraptors with torn knee ligaments ruled the earth. One of the first things I thought, when it became revealed that McElroy played injured for the BCS game, was “Good Lord, the backups must really be just dicking around!”, and now we have a controversy all of a sudden? I think he saved up enough pigskin pennies in the Bryant Denny bank that he’ll have to do a pretty memorable belly flop into the pool of incompetence to get yanked. Like, yank yanked. But maybe there is enough confidence now in AJ that, if Greg is in debilitating pain in a really big game, maybe he’ll, y’know, sit down and rest his ass.
2. Were there any other bits of good or bad news from the scrimmage that fans should consider?
Mookie of 3sib: In worrisome news, Nico Johnson sprained his MCL, which sounds pretty dreadful but so long as he sits out for a few weeks, which surely the coaches will have him do since they already know he has the potential to be an animal in 2010 and don’t need any more convincing through practice drills and scrimmages, he should recover nicely from this setback. Terrence Codysuffered the same injury in ’08, as did Colin Peek in ’09, and based on their rehabilitations, Johnson could be back in a couple weeks. We’re willing to bet he doesn’t suit up for the A-Day game on April 17.
But on the other side of the ball,Julio Jones is finally healthy. Jones, who had surgery on his wrist, hernia, and shoulder after the ’08 season and battled a knee injury throughout ’09, hauled in eight catches for 105 yards in Friday’s scrimmage and feels better than he has since he was a freshman.
“It’s over,” Jones said. “Now I’m back healthy. The main thing is trying to stay healthy and go out there and have a successful season.”
That’s great news, but while the crown jewel of the ‘Bama air attack got the majority of catches, four other Tide receivers and one tailback, Trent Richardson, had at least three catches on Friday. Of particular note, tight end Preston Dial was the second-leading receiver with five grabs for 45 yards. This may indicate that while Peek has departed for the next level, Alabama still wants to make the tight end position a threat for yardage. Dial is about three inches shorter than Peek, but he’s got the muscle and determination to take a break from his excellent blocking to grind out some direct offensive production.
Picture Me Rollin: The difference in years past and this year, as far as my perceptions of Spring Ball is that I have always looked for anything good that happens to hang my hat on as to how the season will be better. This year, I’m confident we are on the right path. I predicted huge things for Terry Grant, Jimmy Johns and quite a few others based on the way they played in the Spring. That turned out well. Honestly, I’m just not following it as much as I typically do, so I’m not gonna do any crystal ball gazing from what always turns out to be partial glimpses that don’t really tell you anything.
3. Homecoming is October 16 against Ole Miss. Thoughts? Is it ever good to play an SEC squad for homecoming?
Memphis Tider: I see no problem with scheduling an SEC team for Homecoming. While some people have gotten the notion that the homecoming game is always against a weaker or inferior team, a lot of teams prefer a big game for homecoming to draw out more of the alumni and fans. I believe Alabama has been the homecoming game for several teams in the SEC over the years. Homecoming isn’t to schedule an easy win – it’s for alumni coming home. The opponent really doesn’t matter in that case.
Tower of Bammer: I don’t think it is ever a good idea to play an SEC squad on homecoming, I mean, it’s almost like they can literally rain on our parade. But, I understand, with the scheduling and how the Moon Winx Lodge gets booked up so early, that they have to do it sometimes. Did you know the first Alabama homecoming was an Armistace Day celebration? Man, we don’t celebrate Armistice Day like we used to, whats this world coming to. All these people forgot the true meaning of Armistice Day, and now they can’t even point out the Ottoman Empire on a fucking map! Pieces of shit, all of you.
Picture Me Rollin: The scheduling the last few years has made a mid-term patsy harder to come by. Homecoming has gotten to be overrated and a cliche that we hold onto that has little meeting. If your an alumnus and you want to come back to campus and enjoy a game with friends and family, are you gonna chose from between Penn State, Florida, or Auburn or come to the lively festivities surrounding the Georgia State game (who is what I consider HC fodder). Every game means something big. Calling it Homecoming doesn’t change anything. I’m gonna be there regardless and I hope our team shows up and plays to its potential.
4. What does the Menzie injury do to Alabama’s projected depth in the secondary?
Kurtz of 3sib: If nothing else, the loss of Menzie is a shot to the psyche of the Tide fan base. It is ominous and foreboding. A post championship pre-curse curse kind of thing…you know, if your into that backwater voodoo type of thinking. Truth is we don’t know anymore about Menzie’s ability to shore up the thin red secondary than any other player on the Tide roster.
However, Saban has a pretty good track record at Alabama with the JUCO players he’s brought into the program: Terrance Cody and James Carpenter both won starting jobs and made critical contributions immediately. A great many fans, by great many I mean me, felt that Menzie would be the crazy glue that held the young secondary together. But that is what fans do; they find insurance policies. So do coaches. Menzie is a talented player who has, or had, the potential to come in and find a spot in the 2-Deep. Now, the hole he could have filled is frighteningly empty. The loss of Menzie means that both true freshman, Millner and Fulton, will see action this season. If Scott or Kirkpatrick goes down with an injury, a true-blue freshman will man a corner spot, bringing with them all the potluck possibilities that a greenhorn possesses. Worse than that, the Tide coaches will need to prepare a third true freshman for possible playing time this fall, and unlike Millner and Fulton, he won’t have the benefit of spring practice. Scott, Kirkpatrick, and Jones have to stay healthy this season. The Tide coaching staff doesn’t have any insurance to cover them if they don’t.
Todd at Roll Bama Roll: The difference in years past and this year, as far as my perceptions of Spring Ball is that I have always looked for anything good that happens to hang my hat on as to how the season will be better. This year, I’m confident we are on the right path. I predicted huge things for Terry Grant, Jimmy Johns and quite a few others based on the way they played in the Spring. That turned out well. Honestly, I’m just not following it as much as I typically do, so I’m not gonna do any crystal ball gazing from what always turns out to be partial glimpses that don’t really tell you anything.
5. Happy that Duke won the tournament? Happy the basketball season is finally over?
Memphis Tider: Honestly, I really don’t like Duke, so I’m glad they’re done. However, I’m a huge college basketball fan, so I hate to see the season end. I grew up playing basketball and football, and basketball was always my favorite sport to play because it’s a lot faster. I’ll definitely be following the basketball recruiting to see what happens because I enjoy it when the Tide is successful. I think Anthony Grant is on to something here in T-Town.
Todd at Roll Bama Roll: I know a lot of people hate Duke; watching the end of the game the other night The Girl commented that she wanted Butler to win because she’s so sick of hearing about Duke, just like she gets so sick of hearing about Alabama (she went to Ole Miss), and all I could say was “that’s loser talk.” People can talk all they want about how they hate Duke and North Carolina and Kentucky (or, in our case, Alabama football) for phoney baloney reasons like “the refs give them all the calls, their fans are jerks, blah blah blah”, but when it comes down to it the reason they’re hated is because they win, and they win a lot, and odds are that whoever your team is has repeatedly been on the losing end of their success. So even though I was sort of pulling for Butler (everyone loves and underdog, so long as they aren’t playing your team), Duke winning didn’t bother me one bit.