Sorry for the technical issues this morning, everyone. Hopefully that is all behind us now.
“We just like to keep you guys guessing at who we're going to put back (there),” Sooners center Gabe Ikard said. Knight got the starting nod before injury and ineffectiveness helped Blake Bell become the starter for the third game.
Then Bell struggled at times late in the year before a concussion suffered against Iowa State led to Knight returning to the starting lineup for the final two games. But it was Bell who led the Sooners to the comeback win against Oklahoma State after Knight was knocked out with a shoulder injury.
So it's Trevor Knight, who started the first two and last two games of OU's 10-2 regular season. Or it's Blake Bell, who started the middle six games in relief of Knight, before rescuing the Oklahoma State finale after Knight went down with a shoulder injury.
The decision won't be based on Knight's shoulder, apparently. "Trevor has practiced the last two days," Stoops informed. "He's moving around and doing well. A hundred percent, yeah."
Play your games. Who cares? Neither quarterback is particularly intimidating, in my opinion.
LB Trey DePriest, the Crimson Tide's third-leading tackler, appeared to be hobbled by an injury and was limited during today's viewing period. Senior Tana Patrick primarily filled DePriest's spot next to C.J. Mosley. Alabama coach Nick Saban will next speak to reporters Sunday.
Alabama's plan to replace right guard Anthony Steen might include junior-college transfer Leon Brown, who has mostly worked at right tackle this season. Brown received reps at both guard and tackle during the viewing period. Grant Hill, Alphonse Taylor and Chad Lindsay are among the options, too.
Interesting to see Leon Brown's name being mentioned again. Obviously, the coaching staff is aware of the investment they made when they took Brown as a JUCO transfer this year, and it's safe to say that the returns on that investment are probably not as high as we had hoped at this point. Hopefully we can find a role for Leon and he can make a serious push in the spring to make the most of his last year on campus.
Dalvin Tomlinson and Nick Perry aren't anywhere close to being ready for Alabama's Sugar Bowl matchup with Oklahoma, but their progress has been tangible throughout the Crimson Tide's first few practices. It's "the next step" in each of their respective rehabilitation programs for their season-ending injuries.
"They're not really playing," Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tuesday. "They're not really doing football stuff and they're not going to play in this game. They're just out there in black jerseys so they can do football-related type stuff, which is the next part of their rehab."
I had Dalvin Tomlinson as my "break out" player of the year this year, and was crushed when he went down early with a knee injury. If he can come back full strength, look for him to do some big things next year.
Alabama linebacker Xzavier Dickson and running back Alvin Kamara are suspended for the Sugar Bowl. In a brief statement, Alabama coach Nick Saban announced the suspensions after Thursday's practice. Saban, who will next speak with reporters Sunday, did not specify whether the players would practice over the next weeks.
You never want to hear about suspensions, but really Kamara's suspension is nothing more than a blip. Alvin hasn't played any this year as a true freshman, and definitely wasn't going to lose his redshirt in the Superdome.
Xzavier Dickson is a different story, though. Dickson is a veteran on the team, and is someone that the team will need next year from a leadership standpoint. Him being suspended from the bowl game has to be considered worrisome. While we don't know what has caused this suspension (yet), the timing makes me think it's possibly grade related. And, honestly, it being grade related might be the best case scenario here, as he could simply get his house in order and no real harm would be done.
"Not an ounce of trouble, not any issue off the field, in the classroom, campus, whatever. Not one single mishap," Lesley said. "A lot of times, kids will go a couple different ways with it. A lot of times, it's somebody else's fault. ... The first time I talked to him, he said, 'Coach, I made a mistake. That's really not me. I made a mistake. I'm going to learn from it. I've hurt a lot of people in my life and I've hurt the University of Alabama. I've hurt myself. What do I need to do?'
"When he said that, I knew what kind of kid I was dealing with. If he ever needed me, I was there for him. Watching him grow a little bit as a player but a lot as a man was a really good experience for me. I enjoyed being around him every day. He'll be fine. He's going to do some great things."