A-Day 2013: What to watch for

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Whether you’re watching today’s Golden Flake Spring A-Day Game inside Bryant-Denny Stadium or live on ESPN2, there will be several storylines worth the attention.

No, AJ Mccarron’s job isn’t in danger. But how have back-ups Phillip Ely and Blake Sims developed? Is Sims more than a clock killer at the end of a blow-out, or can he be counted on to stretch the field and lead the attack, if needed? And will one of the young signal callers look the part slinging the rock?

Offensive Line
Alabama will be without three members of last year’s offensive line…the potential first-rounders who will be very rich this time next week. How will the Tide’s o-line continue to develop in replacement of Fluker, Jones and Warmack? How will Arie Kouandjio, Austin Shepherd, Issac Luatua, Ryan Kelly, Chad Lindsay, Kellen Williams, Alphonse Taylor and others work with Cyrus Kouandjio and Anthony Steen?

Running back
Can any stay healthy? With last week’s injury to monster running back Derrick Henry, the only two healthy scholarship runners for today’s game are TJ Yeldon and Kenyan Drake. Dee Hart and Jalston Fowler have spent the spring in black, non-contact jerseys, and there is a stable of young running backs coming in this summer. But for today’s purposes, who will tote the rock…and leave the stadium on his own volition?

Defensive backs
Bama takes a hit this year with the departed and soon-to-be 1st round draft pick Dee Milliner. Can Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Nick Perry, Landon Collins, John Fulton, Jarrick Williams and Jai Miller step up and step in to help Deion Belue, Vinnie Sunseri and Geno Smith keep the Tide’s defensive backfield among the most dominant in the land?

Are there any not wearing black shirts? CJ Mosely and Trey DePriest have spent the spring hurt leaving Adrian Hubbard playing the field. As those to veterans play two-hand-touch today, what will we see from impressive youngsters Xzavier Dickson, Reggie Ragland, Denzel Devall, Ryan Anderson?

Defensive line
What steps will Jeoffrey Pagon, Darren Lake, LaMichael Fanning, Dakota Ball, Anythony Orr, Ed Stinson and company take in replacing Damion Square and Jesse Williams?

How impressive will five-star sensation O.J. Howard really be? And can Brian Vogler and Harrison Jones step in and fill the void left by blocker/receiver Michael Williams?

Can Cody Mandell really punt a football out of Bryant-Denny Stadium? Is freshman Adam Griffith a capable replacement at kicker, or will Bama continue to put all its eggs in the basket of the sometimes sporadic Cade Foster?

Finally, how the heck will AJ McCarron ever decide who to throw the football to? With Amari Cooper, Christion Jones, Kevin Norwood, Kenny Bell, Cyrus Jones and DeAndrew White…all better than Alabama has possibly ever had on one team…now joined by the bigtime Raheem Falkins and possibly the best of the bunch, Chris Black, what is a quarterback, offensive coordinator and an opposing defense to do?

• Will Alabama head coach Nick Saban throw a tantrum?
• What color sport jacket will he wear?
• How will Alabama honor the late Mal Moore, the “grandfather” of today’s Alabama football?
• Who will throw in the Quarterback Skills Challenge competition, and if Andrew Zow is among those, will he almost kill Big Al with a 90 mph fastball again this year?

It’s going to be fun at the 2013 campaign begins today. Hope to see you there!

(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)