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'Bama Releases Depth Chart for Season Opener

With the season opener five days away, Nick Saban has released the unofficial depth chart, ahem, list of administrative groupings, and with a couple of exceptions there are no major surprises. Click here for a grainy photo of the groupings as released to the media, or here for a more readable accounting from Izzy Gould:

AJ McCarron, 6-4, 205, So./Phillip Sims, 6-2, 217, Fr.

Left Tackle
Barrett Jones, 6-5, 311, Jr./Cyrus Kouandjio, 6-6, 322, Fr. 

Left Guard
Chance Warmack, 6-3, 320, Jr./Barrett Jones, 6-5, 311

Defensive End
Jesse Williams, 6-4, 319, Jr.
Quinton Dial, 6-6, 294,

It comes as no surprise that Nick Saban remained non-committal on the quarterback situation, and that is unlikely to change in the coming days. I imagine McCarron will take the first snap against Kent State, but Sims will probably come in a drive or two thereafter and on the whole snaps will be almost evenly split between the two. A definite starter may be tabbed in time for Penn State, but for the time being the coaching staff is going to punt on this decision.

The offensive line, however, does bring at least one surprise. The fact that Cyrus Kouandjio is listed as a co-starter at left tackle is largely expected given his strong fall camp, but the fact that Barrett Jones is listed as a co-starter at left guard, as opposed to right guard, is somewhat unexpected. Most expected that Anthony Steen was the one in jeopardy of losing play time with a strong surge by Kouandjio, but in fact it looks to be Chance Warmack in danger. Perhaps some of that has to do with hoping to pair the experienced standout Jones on the same side of the line as the young and inexperienced Kouandjio, but it could just as easily be that Warmack has not put an end to the mental mistakes that brought his development to a halt a year ago. Either way, a tip of the hat is in order to Steen, who by all accounts has been motivated by a disastrous Iron Bowl showing a year ago and has made significant progress in the last nine months.

Likewise, the defensive line is showing a bit of flux as well. Most assumed in the spring that Ed Stinson would quickly take over the starting job at defensive end opposite Damion Square, but that has not come to fruition as expected and Jesse Williams closed with a strong fall camp after a middling spring. Quinton Dial continues to develop, and based on the depth chart released today it seems that both he and Williams will rotate snaps this fall with one of them in line for the starting job. As is always the case, the starter designation really means very little given the heavy rotation on the defensive line, but in any event it's nice to see the two JUCO transfers surging up the depth chart and hopefully shoring up an otherwise suspect defensive line.

In other quick hitters, DeAndrew White is listed as a starter at wide receiver, which is no real surprise given the absence of Duron Carter and the suspension of Darius Hanks; the question will eventually be whether he can keep that job after Carter (hopefully) enrolls and Hanks returns. Phelon Jones and DeMarcus Milliner are both listed as back-up corners, so no real determination yet as to who will be on the field in the nickel package. Will Lowery is listed as the back-up to Mark Barron at safety, which may be a sign he still figures to play in the dime package. Michael Bowman is actually listed on the depth chart now, which I suppose can be considered as a sign of progress. Jerrell Harris finally locked down the starting Sam linebacker job, three years after most observers expected he would. No Trent Richardson on kickoff or punt returns, so praise Jebus. Nick Saban explicitly stated that Cyrus Kouandjio will play against Kent State, so you can forget about any possibility of a redshirt season from him. As we've stated here at RBR many times, he is clearly a three-year player and the staff recognizes that as such.

'Bama will return to the practice fields later this afternoon, and we'll have a more in-depth report then, including the latest on Duron Carter. For the rest of the depth chart, follow the jump.

First Team
LT Barrett Jones (75)/Cyrus Kouandjio (71)
LG Chance Warmack (65)/Barrett Jones (75)
C William Vlachos (73)
RG Anthony Steen (61)
RT DJ Fluker (76)
TE Michael Williams (89)
TE Brad Smelley (17)
QB AJ McCarron (10)/Phillip Sims (14)
RB Trent Richardson (3)
WR Marquis Maze (4)
WR DeAndrew White (2)
DE  Jesse Williams (54)
NG Josh Chapman (99)
DE  Damion Square (92)
SAM Jerrell Harris (5)
MIKE Dont'a Hightower (30)
WILL Nico Johnson (35)/ CJ Mosley (32)
JACK Courtney Upshaw (41)
CB DeQuan Menzie (24)
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (21)
SS Robert Lester (37)
FS Mark Barron (4)
Special Teams
PX Jeremy Shelly (90)/Cade Foster (43)
XO Cade Foster (43)
Hold AJ McCarron (10)
P  Cody Mandell (29)
LS Carson Tinker (51)
P R Marquis Maze (4)
KO R Marquis Maze (4)


Second Team
C Kellen Williams (63)
RG John Boswell (67)
RT Austin Shepard (79)
TE Chris Underwood (87)
TE Harrison Jones (82)
RB Eddie Lacy (42)
WR Brandon Gibson (11)
WR Kenny Bell (7)
DE  Quinton Dial (90)/ Undra Billingsly (86)
NG Nick Gentry (58)/Jesse Williams (54)
DE  Ed Stinson (49)
SAM Alex Watkins (91)/Adrian Hubbard (43)
MIKE Chris Jordan (36)/Trey Depriest (33)
JACK Adrian Hubbard/Xavier Dickson (47)
CB Dee Milliner (28)
CB Phelon Jones (9)
SS Jarrick Williams (20)
FS Will Lowery (29)/Nick Perry (27)
Special Teams
XO Jeremy Shelly (90)
Hold Hardie Buck (81)
P  Jay Williams (44)
LS Kelly Johnson (31)
P R DeAndrew White
KO R Dee Milliner (28)
Third Team
LT  Tyler Love (72)
LG Alfred McCullough (52)
C Chad Lindsay (78)
TE Brian Vogler (84)
QB Phillip Ely (12)
RB Jalston Fowler (45)
WR Kevin Norwood (83)
WR Michael Bowman (88)
MIKE Tana Patrick (2)
CB John Fulton (10)
SS Vinnie Sunseri (3)
FS Ha'Sean Clinton Dix (6)