Browsing some of required 'Bama reading last night on Twitter I came across three tweets that I wanted to expound upon a bit further. Nothing overly in-depth, mind you, but three observations.
First up, a blurb from Chase Goodbread regarding the competition on the offensive line
Fluker and Warmack survived 2nd scrimmage film review, based on indy drills. Both still with 1st OL.
For what it's worth, I tend to think that when Penn State comes to town, Fluker and Warmack will be starting at right tackle and left guard, respectively. Alfred McCullough and John Michael Boswell are not scrubs by any stretch of the imagination, and both will provide quality depth, but the ceiling just seems almost too high for both Fluker and Warmack. Fluker probably has the raw ability to get a bust in Canton, and while Warmack is not on that level, the fact of the matter is that Warmack has been highly impressive ever since he first set foot in Tuscaloosa at a combine in May of 2008 as a prep senior. I expect that both will start and that both will play pretty well.
Second, from Travis Reier on the value of rising junior defensive end Marcell Dareus:
If I was Nick Saban, I'd be tempted to put Dareus in a non-contact jersey until Sept. 4. He's more important to the D than GMAC is to the O
I made a fanshot about this, but I'll expound a bit further here. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to denigrate McElroy here, mind you, but I really don't think we'd lose a whole lot if he went down for an extended period of time (and I know many of you may find such talk blasphemous, but nevertheless). McCarron has done very well since he arrived in Tuscaloosa, and it's only a matter of time before he takes over at quarterback and starts playing at a high level. Admittedly, now, McElroy and McCarron are different players and they would produce in somewhat different ways -- we would almost certainly get more explosive plays out of McCarron, but we would almost certainly get more big negative plays too -- but in the grand scheme of things I think the net production we would get from both quarterbacks would be pretty equal.
Dareus, however, is a completely different story. We certainly look to have some capable defensive ends to step in for him, but the truth is that we have not had a defensive lineman like Dareus in almost 20 years (Copeland and Curry), and it may be another 20 years before we get another like him. I don't care how dominant you are on the recruiting trails, players of Dareus' ability are very rare commodities and we simply don't have someone on the roster right now that could play his position and give us even remotely comparable production. There is no sugar coating the situation, any replacement for Dareus would constitute a very steep drop-off. Combine all of that with the complete rebuild that must take place on the defensive side of the ball, and I think it is clear that there is no single player on our entire team more critical to our success in 2011 than Dareus (quarterbacks and Heisman Trophy winner included).
Finally, from Gentry Estes regarding Brandon Moore.
Also redshirt freshman Brandon Moore appears to be making a move at NT behind Chapman and Murphy
This is something that probably won't get much attention, but I do think it is a positive development that should be noted as such. Moore will probably never be an elite pass rusher at defensive end -- he would probably be more in the mold of Brandon Deaderick or Lorenzo Washington -- and I've really never liked the possibility of trying him at offensive tackle. Moving him inside, however, really helps out on two fronts. First, Moore probably has a quicker path to playing time inside than he did at defensive end, and that is a good news for him. Second, however, and more importantly for 'Bama, this really improves our depth on the interior defensive line. The dirty little secret we have in the trenches is that for all of our supposed depth, we were actually quite short at nose guard and honestly we were probably going to have to turn to true freshman Brandon Ivory to provide us depth behind Josh Chapman and Kerry Murphy. Moving Moore inside not only helps get him on the field sooner, but it also gives us better depth at nose guard and will likely help us keep a redshirt on Ivory in 2010. Again, this is a move that probably won't receive much attention, but it is nevertheless good news for both Moore and the Crimson Tide.