1. Other than the contest against Little Brother, what do you think is a "must-win" for Alabama this season?
As much as I hate to say this, but how about Arkansas State? Seriously people, the embarassing November collapses to State, LSU, and Auburn are bad enough, but did we really need the added humiliation of a home loss to one of the worst teams in the worst conference in the country? No, we didn't. And we're right back in the same situation with a trap game against an "inferior" opponent late in the season that should be an easy breather. The
Indians Red Wolves have a back to back 1000 yard season rusher in Reggie Arnold and a mobile quarterback in Corey Leonard, the kind of combo that got the Warhawks an upset win last season. Just ask Texas, who escaped with a 21-13 win after allowing 397 yards (57 more than the Longhorns could gain) and ten points in the fourth while being shutout in the final quarter, and Tennessee, who gave up 178 yards rushing (130 of them to Arnold) in their 48-27 win, how seriously we should be taking them. And honestly, we need to be taking everyone on the slate seriously, since finally actually beating all the teams we are SUPPOSED to beat in a season is the first step we need to take in order to get back to contending for the SEC.
2. Every year there seems to be a player that no one is really talking about pre-season that garners accolades by the end of the year. Who will that be for Alabama this year?
Mike Johnson. He struggled at RT (why must we keep saying that year after year?!?! WHY?!?!!!11), but he's a mean run blocker and the move to LG should really make him an asset on the offensive line, and hopefully he can garner some hype for himself.
3. In your opinion, how many true freshmen will start against Clemson? How many will start against Little Brother?
In the opener, I wouldn't think more than three will be starting, but I do think we'll see a good handful by the end of the game in certain situations. One or two of the big time linebacker recruits (Harris or Hightower maybe) will more than likely get on the field out of outright necessity, and we may even see another true freshman starting in the secondary although I think Jackson, Johnson, and Woodall are fairly secure while I also believe the staff will give Arenas every opportunity to prove himself because of his work ethic and the fact that he stuck around and bought into their philosophy after considering quitting because he never thought he'd be more than a kick returner at Alabama. I do believe that a lot of them will get on the field in that game, though, especially on the d-line where depth and size are so lacking, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find the tackle and end positions with new starters by the middle of the season.
4. Pick one player on offense and one on defense and give a match up with an opponent that you are really looking forward to watching this season.
Kareem Jackson vs Mohamed Massaquoi. Jackson's efforts against the Vols last season was one of the highlights of the year, and the Dawgs have a solid receiving corps this year. Let's see if he can have another game where his defensive efforts help snatchs victory from what looks like certain defeat before the game even starts.
Darius Hanks/Nick Walker (or whoever is going over the middle) vs Eric Berry. Berry got picked on a lot last year because of his youth, but he grew into his role and has turned into one of the best DBs in the league. Hopefully he'll hit a sophomore slump before this year's Third Saturday in October.
|I suppose we got away with it enough last season we might as well do it again this year.|
5. What, if any, SEC school’s head coach will be out after this season?
The only coach I could see being on the hot seat right now is Fulmer, but after making it to Atlanta and scoring a convincing win in a New Year's Day Bowl to finish the season he's bought himself another couple of years (barring a total collapse, of course). If the Vols finish the regular season around 8-4 (which they might, but 10-2 or even 11-1 are just as likely), there will be calls for his head again, but he's built up enough political capital to keep going until the Vols either completely fall apart or he decides to step down on his own.