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Mild Surprise: Saban Releases Depth Chart

Surprise, surprise...

It's been going around the Internet today that Coach Saban has in fact released a depth chart (okay, so it's really not a "depth chart," but nevertheless a list of who stands where for the Western Caroina game). And that's a bit of a shock.

Here goes:


LT: Andre Smith, Chris Capps

LG: Justin Britt, Evan Cardwell

C: Antoine Caldwell, William Vlachos

RG: Marlon Davis, Patrick Crump

RT: Mike Johnson, BJ Stabler

TE: Nick Walker, Travis McCall, Preston Dial

QB: John Parker Wilson, Greg McElroy, Nick Fanuzzi

RB: Terry Grant, Jimmy Johns

FB: Baron Huber, Jeramie Griffin

WR: DJ Hall, Matt Caddell, Earl Alexander

WR :Mike McCoy, Nikita Stover, Will Oakley

PK: Leigh Tiffin, Jamie Christensen


DE: Wallace Gilberry, Milton Talbert

NG: Brian Motley, Lorenzo Washington

DE: Bobby Greenwood, Brandon Deaderick, Luther Davis

SAM: Zeke Knight, Zach Schreiber

MIKE: Rolando McClain, Demarcus Waldrop

WILL: Darren Mustin, Marcel Stamps

JACK: Keith Saunders, Brandon Fanney

LC: Simeon Castille, Marquis Johnson, Eric Gray

RC: Lionel Mitcehll, Kareem Jackson

SS: Marcus Carter, Ali Sharrief, Chris Rogers

FS: Rashad Johnson, Javier Arenas

P: PJ Fitzgerald, Adam Hill

Special Teams

Kick-Off: Leigh Tiffin, Jamie Christensen

Holder: PJ Fitzgerald

Punt Returner: Javier Arenas, Kareem Jackson

Kick Returners: DJ Hall, Javier Arenas

So... that's interesting stuff.

Not trying to brag here, but from the fall practice notes, it doesn't seem that we missed out on very much. McCoy did pass Keith Brown, Marlon Davis is the man at right guard, Michael Johnson is slated to be the right tackle, Terry Grant won the tailback competition, Lionell Mitchell should start opposite Simeon, and the safeties, for better or worse, will be Rashad Johnson and Marcus Carter.

There are a couple of interesting notes, though.

  • Nick Walker is listed as the number one tight end. In a lot of ways, I felt either McCall or Dial would take this, but apparently. However, perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising. According to this article from today, Walker has dropped 40 pounds. In the past, I've chastised him for his poor route-running and body control, but of course that's all pretty tough to do when you're up 40 pounds. Perhaps Walker will be much more athletic and an improving receiving threat now that he has slimmed down.
  • Johnathon Lowe is not listed as one of the returners. In fact, D.J. Hall is on kick returns, and to be quite frank, I'm not a big fan of that. I imagine that in the coming days and weeks, the once-ineligible Lowe will make his way back to the special teams rotation, and Hall will probably stay on the sidelines for those plays.
  • Marquis Maze is not listed at one of the returner spots. I would imagine this means the staff will try to redshirt him, and that's probably a pretty good idea. You have to figure, if he was going to get on the field this year it was going to be as a special teams player, and that doesn't seem likely at the moment.
  • Jimmy Johns is listed as the back-up tailback, though he is getting a good bit of time at fullback. That may sound odd at first, but I wouldn't read much into it. In reality, as I've stated before, Johns will be used as a hybrid tailback-fullback, much in the same vein as LSU's Jacob Hester. As a result, he really doesn't fit as the pure fullback, and I think that's reflected here. What his listing as the back-up tailback, however, I think indicates is what I've said earlier, Johns is effectively the back-up tailback. Though he won't line up in the tailback slot that often, he'll get more carries than either Coffee or Upchurch, and thus will effectively be the back-up tailback even if he's getting the carries from the fullback spot.
  • Considering that Johns and Huber will see most of the playing time at fullback, you have to wonder if Jeramie Griffin is headed for a redshirt. That wouldn't be a bad thing, honestly. Once you reach the point where you can legitimately start redshirting players the caliber of Griffin, you're looking good for the future.
  • Two true freshmen offensive linemen -- William Vlachos and Patrick Crump -- have passed several upperclassmen, guys like Taylor Pharr, Alex Stadler, and others. That's interesting to say the least. All of those latter guys were very highly recruited out of high school, but they better get it together real quick. Given the emergence of Vlachos and Crump -- combined with great incoming linemen in 2008 like Tyler Love -- they are in serious jeopardy of getting left in the dust.
  • Javier Arenas is listed as the second-team safety. That's interesting stuff, and honestly he apparently deserves it. If you recall, he intercepted a John Parker Wilson pass in the last scrimmage, and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. Joe Kines, in particular, was very optimistic about Arenas' future development as a defensive back, and it seems that he may be correct. Perhaps he can really turn into more of an every-down player instead of just a special teams threat. Lord knows he has the athleticism.
  • Justin Woodall is not listed at safety. Though he is very talented and very athletically gifted, he apparently isn't playing that well. It shouldn't come as much of a shock, I suppose. Kirk McNair of 'Bama Magazine made the comment the other day that Woodall was likely a third-teamer at safety at the moment, and the depth chart seems to reflect that. For whatever reason -- despite all of his ability -- that kid just hasn't gotten it together yet. Considering that Shula basically wasted a year of eligibility on him last year, hopefully he'll redshirt this year and make up for it. At the very least it seems that unless he makes a huge jump in a short period of time, or we have terrible injury luck at the position, Woodall isn't going to see very much meaningful playing time this year.