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Coach Saban Announces Two Position Changes

According to published reports, Coach Saban announced two position changes today, both of which are big moves.

First and foremost, citing the depth that has developed at the nose guard position, Lorenzo Washington has been moved to defensive end. The second move announced was that Corey Reamer, who has been switching back and forth between Sam and Will linebacker, will now move back outside to Sam linebacker. Team specific preparations for the Clemson game officially began today, and it seems that both moves are in fact permanent.

Sufficed to say, this is big news, and we can now finally get a good idea of how the defensive depth chart is going to shake out. Terrance Cody and Josh Chapman have solidified the nose guard position, and that frees up Washington to move outside. We did have Reamer playing out of position inside at the Will position largely due to a lack of depth, but with the emergence of Dont'a Hightower, that allows Reamer to move outside to a position that he is a better fit for. And make no mistake about it, this move to the outside by Reamer means that Hightower will start from day one. All in all, both moves have to make you feel good because it does help us get our best players on the field.

Now, last year I jotted down a projected starting lineup about a week or ten days before the Western Carolina game, and I had a good bit of luck and ended up getting most of it right. With that in mind, now that the roster has been largely solidified, the following is my shot at the starting line-up going into the Clemson game:


QB: John Parker Wilson

TB: Glenn Coffee

TE: Nick Walker

HB: Travis McCall

LT: Andre Smith

LG: Mike Johnson

C: Antoine Caldwell

RG: Marlon Davis

RT: Drew Davis

WR: Darius Hanks

FL: Mike McCoy

SE: Julio Jones


DE/T: Bobby Greenwood

NG: Josh Chapman

DE: Brandon Deaderick

SLB: Corey Reamer

ILB: Rolando McClain

ILB: Dont'a Hightower

Jack: Brandon Fanney

CB: Kareem Jackson

CB: Javier Arenas

FS: Rashad Johnson

SS: Mark Barron


And that's my best guess of things, and I feel pretty confident about things. Nevertheless, I'll expound on a few points:

  • We will split the touches three ways at tailback between Coffee, Grant, and Ingram, but with Coffee being the most complete back he will get the most snaps. At this point, he's the only back that Saban and company trust being in the game during all phases of the game (pass blocking, short-yardage, etc).
  • Julio Jones and Mike McCoy will be the two main cogs in the passing attack, and they are the most certain to get the snaps. Coach Saban has singled them out several times as being the most consistent guys we have. The slot position held by Darius Hanks isn't as tight of a lock, though, with both Burton Scott and Chris Jackson doing well. Either way, we'll use a rotation and a lot of guys will play.
  • Lorenzo Washington will be playing the combo end-tackle position currently occupied by Greenwood. He probably won't be the starter per se, at least right away, but with the rotation he will get just as many snaps as the starters.
  • Josh Chapman and Terrence Cody will split the snaps at the nose guard position, but you have to assume that Cody's size will limit his playing time a bit and that Chapman will, as a result, end up getting more reps. Hence my prediction that he is a starter.
  • I'm not overly confident about the Barron pick over Woodall, but the rest of the secondary is right, I believe. That said, we're going to mix things up quite a bit. Barron has worked at the star position, Arenas has occasionally slid inside there, and as much as the SEC throws the ball these days that position will be on the field just as much as any starter. Marquis Johnson looks to get time there too.
  • One final point, and that is the depth is extremely important in modern day college football, and in reality it is quite common to see back-ups get almost as many, if not as many, snaps as the starters. With that in mind, many players not mentioned here will get a ton of meaningful playing time in 2008. Both Terry Grant and Mark Ingram will have roles. Burton Scott will play, Chris Jackson may very well too, and Earl Alexander will have a good number of balls thrown his way. Nikita Stover has seemingly been relegated, but he will get snaps. Lorenzo Washington will play as much as a starter, and Terrence Cody will be a key factor. Chavis Williams will get playing time, and Eryk Anders has played too well to ride the pine. Prince Hall will make an impact when he returns. Marquis Johnson, Justin Woodall, and perhaps even Robby Green and Alonzo Lawrence will make an impact in the secondary. In other words, while the starting 22 is highly important, the back-ups are highly important as well, so don't focus too much on the projected starting unit.