I got to come up with the questions this week but have been holding off on posting them with all the basketball hoopla on Friday, but with Alabama's basketball season officially over we can get back to focusing on football.
1. Spring practice starts today (ed. - well, Friday...) and there will be a number of position battles on both sides of the ball. Which one are you paying the most attention to?
Everyone seems to be fretting about the losses on defense and even though I'm concerned about replacing so many starters as well, I've already broken down my reasoning for feeling strangely comfortable with the new faces. Instead, I'm more concerned with who is going to
feel fill Javier Arenas' shoes on special teams. Even though he only managed one kick return for a TD last season (and against UT-Chattanooga at that), time and again he was giving the offense spectacular field position and considering the struggles the offense hit during the middle of the season his ability to flip the field all on his lonesome was more important than many observers may have realized. Even though the offense has all the ingredients to be exceptionally potent this year, having someone who is just as big of a threat as Javy adds a whole new level of problems for opposing coaches preparing for the Tide.
2. There have already been a couple of position change rumors (Kendall Kelly to safety, Michael Bowman to TE) and, knowing Saban's penchant for playing mad scientist with the roster during the early part of spring camp, there are likely going to be a few more over the next few weeks. Who do you think would be a candidate for a position change, why, and where are they moving?
I may have waited a little late for this one since there have already been several position changes and departures that have taken away a little of my speculative thunder, but one guy who could see some more flip flopping is Brian Motley. Saban flipped him to NT from C where he was buried on the depth chart in his first season, the flopped him back to the offensive line where he actually did pretty well filling in at LG during the spring, but he's yet to get any real playing time on offense. If the NT rotation looks like it's coming up short I wouldn't be shocked to see him back over there. Also, William Ming is listed as defensive lineman on the official roster, but Saban explicitly mentioned him as someone who could contribute at Jack linebacker after he signed last year so unless he's just gotten too big to "stand up" I wouldn't be surprised to see him with the LBs either.
3. Each year someone has a come from nowhere breakout performance in the spring, a la Robby Green's surprise nabbing of the FS spot last spring. Who is poised to be a breakout star this year?
He may not be a complete "out of nowhere" choice, but Michael Williams did a great job at TE last season in Colin Peek's shadow and even though he isn't on the same level of pass catching threat as Peek, he's a solid blocker with decent hands which is more than we can say about anyone else (that we know of) at TE right now. Also, if Phelon Jones isn't able to get playing time at CB I will be shocked. Everyone seems to be forgetting about him after he had to sit a year, but he has game experience and a year in Saban's system under his belt so if he can't catch some eyes in the spring I don't know if he ever will.
4. There was a lot of blue chip talent riding the pine last season. Which heralded recruit that has yet to see any meaningful playing time is, in your opinion, both poised to show their stuff and the one you are most excited about finally seeing on the field?
I think Rod Woodson has a golden opportunity with the competition at safety. He was a force on special teams last year and if he's picked up the defense enough he's such a disturbing blend of speed and hard hitting that he should get some playing time this season. And besides, just watch him coming on blitzes in his highlight video and then think about Rashad Johnson creeping up to the line and then try to tell me you don't get a very welcome sense of deja vu.
5. If Mark Ingram and Godzilla fought, who would win?
3SIB already one this one with their photoshoppery, so I'm not even going to try...