Alright, folks. We're going to be trying out a new feature here on Roll Bama Roll: a mailbag. I'm sure that a lot of our readers are just like me. You obsess over every shred of Bama football news, and your friends and loved ones have taken note. Anytime the subject of football comes up (every conversation), you find yourself debating something about the upcoming season, or answering the queries of someone that is not quite as plugged in to the blogosphere.
So, the plan is for the mailbag piece to address both types of individuals. Are you a die-hard internet junkie that wants to get a writer's take or just spur conversation among the readers here about a certain subject? Fire away. Have you recently been asked a question that you think other readers may wonder about? Please share. Have you consistently heard a piece of terminology that you've never understood? Ask about it, since dozens of others probably have the same question.
We've recently set up a new email account where you can send your submissions for the mailbag. Just shoot us an email at RBRmailbag@gmail.com. Let us know if you'd like us to use your first name, username, or be anonymous.
For this first mailbag, I have compiled some questions that I've gotten from friends and family recently to kick this party off. Now on to the questions!
Which game do you think will be Bama’s toughest next year? I know everyone is pointing to the ATM game but LSU always plays us tough. I know we have LSU at home and ATM on the road but the last two years, both losses have been at home. The team seems to be more focused on the road for big games. - Josh
At the risk of underselling Texas A&M, I think LSU is pretty clearly the toughest game on our schedule for the third year in a row. I think Texas A&M's defense will be the difference in that game, and not in the way that the Aggies are hoping. With only three returning starters in their front seven and the young replacements having no real tests beforehand to season, I look for Bama to largely have their way offensively. As far as Texas A&M's offense goes, I think Manziel (Bammer's man-crush) will find a bit more resistance than he saw in the first quarter in Tuscaloosa. I expect the coaching staff will have learned from its mistakes last year and should have a solid game plan in place when the team rolls into Kyle Field. The only real concern I have for this game is the heat. The game will be played at 2:30 CT in the searing Texas sun. Heat cuts both ways, but it could affect the Bama defense a bit more as they try to keep pace with Sumlin's hurry up scheme.
LSU lost a ton on defense. But they've recruited as well as anybody in the country (outside of Bama) since Les Miles has been there. As such, they are well stocked and the young talent shouldn't be quite as young by the time November 9th rolls around. I think the biggest difference between the two games, for me, is schedule placement. If LSU were the second game of the season and ATM were set for November, I'd probably reverse my pick.
And finally, I don't read too much into the fact that the last two losses have come at home. The LSU loss was simply a case of two juggernauts battling, and I think the Texas A&M game would've gone differently (whether home or away) had we not played them one week after LSU and two weeks after AJ got injured against Mississippi State.
Who will be the #2 quarterback? Do we have any legitimate options? - Steve
Well, it didn't take long, but we've gotten to the million dollar question. I recently rewatched the A Day game, and the picture at backup QB didn't look any rosier two months later. Despite all of the hope I expressed during spring practice, I think it is painfully clear that Blake Sims is not and will not be the answer. His mechanics in the spring game were dreadful, and despite coach Saban's insistence that this was not in line with how Blake had performed all spring, I don't see any reason at this point to believe that Sims won't immediately regress to his hurried, back-footed, inaccurate throwing when the pressure is on. If Sims' performance in April didn't cost him the #2 job, I'm confident he'll be passed over in due time.
So with him out of the equation, there are several other options at QB, including Alec Morris, Cooper Bateman, Parker McLeod and Luke Del Rio. The last three are all true freshmen early enrollees that participated in spring practice. McLeod and Del Rio are locks to redshirt (barring injuries), so the real competition is between Bateman and Morris. Bateman was the more highly regarded player coming out of high school, but Morris has one more year of experience and looks to be more ready to hold the reigns.
Watching the game, Morris showed he has fantastic arm strength and really good accuracy. He threw a 25 yard pass on a seam post that was as pretty as you'll ever see. I think that Morris' play (excepting an embarrassing fumble) was probably one of the high points of A Day, and I think that he will prove to be a more than adequate backup this year.
Who is a surprise impact guy that has flown under the radar? - Hardy
This is a difficult one, because it feels like most of the guys on the team are "high profile". The guy that I'm looking to blow up this year is junior tight end Brian Vogler. Vogler's ascent has been greatly overshadowed by the signing of O.J. Howard, but I think he is poised to do some great things. He's roughly the same size as Michael Williams, but a bit faster. I look for him to be a threat as a receiver as well as a cornerstone for the running game.
Well, that will wrap up our inaugural Roll Bama Roll mailbag. Feel free to give your responses in the comments and/or let me know why I'm completely right/wrong about my responses. And remember to send in your questions for future editions of Roll Bama Roll mailbag to RBRmailbag@gmail.com.