University of Alabama senior wide receiver Darius Hanks will miss the Crimson Tide's first two games of the 2011 season in accordance with standard NCAA participation rules, a source close to the situation confirmed to Tidesports.com on Thursday.
(Editor's Note: Word on the street is Clay Travis is working on a breaking news piece based on exclusive photos he obtained which prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that Hanks received impermissible benefits at Dreamland in the form of free white bread and barbeque sauce refills).
In all seriousness, though, this seems like a pretty common sense interpretation of the rule, and no real complaints can be made here, inconvenient for us as though it may be. Hanks played in a game in 2007 before receiving a medical redshirt, and the rule states that players who do so must sit out the first two games of the additional year of eligibility they receive. No surprise.
And surprising as though this may be to the media and casual fans, I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone in the football program, Hanks and the coaching staff included. From all accounts this seems to be an expected outcome given the applicable rules, and it has undoubtedly been planned for by all relevant parties involved for some time now.
In terms of on-field impact, this obviously won't help our chances of beating Penn State, especially with us having an inexperienced quarterback(s) under center, but let's not get too carried away with this one. We took down the Nittany Lions by three touchdowns a year ago without the services of Mark Ingram, Marcell Dareus, and Courtney Upshaw, and if we fall to them this season then it's almost certainly going to be the result of collateral factors that have little or nothing to do with the absence of Darius Hanks.
Who gets the playing time left in the wake of Hanks' hiatus? It's a bit too early to tell for certain, but the smart money is on either DeAndrew White or Kenny Bell, with White likely getting the nod. Both players are very similar to Hanks in terms of size and skill set, and adding them into the lineup would allow us to move forward without having to make any substantial adjustments. I imagine instead of largely seeing a triumvirate of Maze, Hanks, and Carter lined up out wide, now we will see Maze, Carter, and White. Hope for the best.