As I stated in my previous look at how the Tide would go about replacing Dont'a Hightower, we really just do not know for certain exactly how Alabama will go about doing that. I went on the record earlier with my prediction -- Cory Reamer plays the Will position, the rest of the linebacker corps rotates accordingly, except probably on obvious running downs -- but in all fairness that is really little more than an educated guess at this point, and the specific possibilities that we could use are far too great to detail in this space.
I did also say previously that we might get some hints this week from the practice reports, and to that end in the media access periods this week Cory Reamer has indeed been spotted at the Will linebacker position. Furthermore, Gentry Estes quoted Coach Saban yesterday afternoon, where Saban hinted at using the personnel package we used in the final three quarters against Arkansas, while downplaying the possibility of putting either Chris Jordan or Nico Johnson in that role. Specifically, Saban was quoted as saying the following:
It's probably the best thing for us to do right now in the short term, to continue to do it that way. That's my feeling, but that decision has not been made.
The biggest thing right now is, could they go in and execute well enough knowledge-wise to be able to get it done? I think they're all going to be good football players, but I think they've got to be ready to play... I really don't want to play guys if they're not confident in what they're supposed to do and how to do it and get enough reps at doing it.
So, Reamer it is and everyone else adjusts accordingly, right? Well, maybe, perhaps even probably, but let's not jump to conclusions just yet.
First and foremost, the notion that a decision has not been made to date is patently absurd, particularly so for such an obsessed planning and preparation freak like Saban. By this late in the week, we have basically installed everything we are going to do for the Kentucky game, so you can practically bet your life that some decision has been made by now. The notion that Saban and company are still hotly debating this fundamental of a subject -- and one that will have such wide repercussions -- less than 48 hours from kick-off is pretty much ludicrous. One way or the other, they have a good idea in mind as to what they are going to do, and you can rest assured we have been preparing accordingly just about all week.
And furthermore, it's just simple common sense. We have a variety of different things that we could do in this situation, and Rich Brooks is a fine head coach. Why in the world would we practically just go ahead and announce to the world, and Rich Brooks, exactly what we are going to do? It's simple, coaches have a massive incentive to give out as little legitimate information as possible, and moreover they have a massive incentive to put out knowingly false information, all in the name of gaining a competitive advantage. It happens all the time in the NFL with manipulations of the injury report, the same thing happens in the college game with injuries, and you can rest assured it also happens when there is an uncertainty regarding how a specific player will be replaced in terms of personnel.
Don't get me wrong, Cory Reamer will probably end up playing a lot at the Will position this Saturday, but don't jump to conclusions just yet. There are still a lot of different things we could do -- plus we could do a combination of those things, as well -- so don't think this one is necessarily a done deal just yet. As I said three days ago, we'll just have to tune in at 11:21 on Saturday morning to find out for certain.