Alright, folks. Time for another round of our newest feature here on Roll Bama Roll: mailbag, where you submit your questions to get our takes and spark discussions among the readers.
If you have any questions that you'd like to submit for future mailbags, 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.
Now on to this week's questions!
What is your take on why everyone in the college football world is complaining about Alabama's Schedule? Bama plays two easier games this year and yet everyone (BIG, PAC12,Big12/10 & SEC) is complaining about the schedule being too easy. For instance, take a look at LSU's Schedule, they have 2 bye weeks just like Bama, but no one is talking about their bye weeks. If you look you will see they (LSU) take their bye weeks before Bama and before A&M. Yet no one is saying anything about it. - James Tew
I think the problem is two-fold. First off, when you're the top dog, you're going to get criticized. At this point, Bama fans really should be used to it, and if you aren't then you need to get used to it, because the criticisms are here to stay until the titan has been felled, at which point we'll reminisce about the good ol' days when people were constantly complaining about Bama.
The second part of the issue is this - the complaint is grounded in truth. Bama's schedule this year is the easiest the program has had since Saban arrived, by a fair margin. Bama avoids the "Big 3" of the East, has bye weeks before both games with the only real competition for the west crown. On top of all of that, the "marquee" out of conference game figures to be the weakest one Bama has faced in the past 6 years.
Also, just to be clear, the two bye weeks are the result of a scheduling quirk, and all schools have two this year. In fact, Big 12 schools have three bye weeks, since a few teams play their last conference games on championship Saturday.
It's no secret Alabama has an embarrassment of riches at running back. How do you see that playing out? What's the depth chart look like? Who gets primarily utilized elsewhere (H-back, kick returns, etc)? - geauxcrimson
Oh, where do you start with this one? The only certainty is that T.J. Yeldon has the starter job locked up. Behind that, I would put Kenyan Drake ahead of Jalston Fowler, but only because I expect Fowler to be on the field already as the H-back. That brings us to the last of the veterans - Dee Hart. I'm one that is surprised that Dee is even still on the team. When he went down with his second knee injury last year, I thought his career in crimson was over. While I am glad that he's still with the team, I think he'll be hard pressed to avoid being passed over by this year's crop of running backs. Look for Dee to make some noise as a kick returner and hopefully unseat Christion Jones as the punt returner. Don't, however, look for him to be taking too many handoffs.
Speaking of the new crop, Bama has four new faces fighting for playing time at running back: Derrick Henry, Tyren Jones, Alvin Kamara, and Altee Tenpenny. Henry had the benefit of being a part of the spring practice, but an injury in the second scrimmage probably offset some portion of that advantage, and I would say he's only a slight favorite to emerge from the new pack. Outside of that timid projection, I'm going to take the easy way out and say it's too early to tell on the rest of the depth chart. The new crop is just too full of talented guys to be able to make any kind of legitimate evaluation before they start practices.
I see this occasionally: O-Line lines up and the QB is under center. The QB makes a motion and the entire O-line at once relaxes. The audible is called and the O-line gets back in their stance. Why is this not a false start? - Robert
This is a question I've heard a ton over the last few years. The best place to start for this one is the NCAA rulebook.
Shift and False Start ARTICLE 2. a. Shift. After a huddle (Rule 2-14-1) or shift (Rule 2-22-1) and before the snap, all Team A players must come to an absolute stop and remain stationary in their positions for at least one full second before the ball is snapped, without movement of the feet, body, head or arms (A.R. 7-1-2-I).
b. False Start. Each of the following is a false start by Team A if it occurs prior to the snap after the ball is ready for play and all players are in scrimmage formation:
Any movement by one or more players that simulates the start of a play.
The snapper moving to another position.
A restricted lineman (Rule 2-27-4) moving his hand(s) or making any quick movement. [Exception: It is not a false start if a Team A lineman immediately reacts when threatened by a Team B player in the neutral zone (Rule 7-1-5-a-2) (A.R. 7-1-3-V)].
An offensive player making any quick, jerky movement before the snap, including but not limited to: (a) A lineman moving his foot, shoulder, arm, body or head in a quick, jerky motion in any direction. (b) The snapper shifting or moving the ball, moving his thumb or fingers, flexing his elbows, jerking his head, or dipping his shoulders or buttocks. (c) The quarterback making any quick, jerky movement that simulates the beginning of a play. (d) A back simulating receiving the ball by making any quick, jerky movement that simulates the beginning of a play.
Basically, the devil is in the details. The offensive line is allowed to move as a unit (called a shift) as long as the movements are not fast and do not in any way simulate the start of a play. Every time I've seen this routine done, you see the Oline casually get out of their stance and look to the sideline. If they snapped up quickly, it would be flagged (or at least flag-able... SEC officials, y'all).
Well, that will wrap up this week's 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.