TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches a review by Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
While some may dismiss the injuries to Alex Watkins and Cyrus Kouandjio as relatively harmless given their status as back-ups, both had roles on this team and their absence creates cause for concern. First off, the gritty injury details, per Izzy Gould:
"Alex Watkins broke his arm so he's gonna be out for (two to three weeks)," Saban said. "Cyrus got a pretty significant knee injury that's gonna require surgery. He's probably gonna be out for the remainder of the season."Even though those two guys aren't starters they're guys that have made a lot of contribution especially to the depth of our team."
Fortunately, the injury news on Alex Watkins is somewhat better. The broken arm sounds painful, but Saban indicated earlier today that he would probably be out roughly two or three weeks. It seems relatively clear that he will miss the LSU game but if all goes well he should be back for Auburn. Watkins, too, isn't a starter, but he's an every-down contributor in the Rabbit package and plays on special teams as well. He brings great athleticism as an edge rusher and he's not easily replaced. It's encouraging that he likely should be back for Auburn and the bowl game, but he's not the type of player you want dressed in street clothes when LSU comes to town.
On the whole, while neither Watkins and Kouandjio were starters, both were meaningful contributors that had clear roles on this team. The absence of Kouandjio leaves the Tide razor thin at tackle in terms of depth, and the loss of Watkins takes away from the Tide one its best pass rushers right before the biggest game of the season. Neither loss figures to be fatal, but their absence makes the road to victory against LSU that much tougher.