Alright, folks. Time for yet another round of Roll Bama Roll mailbag. We're going to try to do a bit of a round table format this time, with Bammer and Erik dropping in to share their thoughts as well.
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Now on to the questions!
Given the hype that has surrounded Chris Black since last spring (when he was even ahead of Amari Cooper), how likely do you think it is that Black will blow up and do even better than Cooper did in his first year? - Larry
Slice: I don't know how good Chris Black is or can be. But I do know one thing: he will not do what Cooper did in his first year but for the simple fact that he'll have to split catches with Coop. Last year, Coop became the go to guy largely out of necessity. This year, with the wide receiving corps at glutted as it has ever been, it will be difficult for Black to even crack the regular rotation, much less be on the field enough to explode onto the scene.
To be less abstract about it, here were Cooper's numbers from last year: 58 receptions, 999 yards, 11 touchdowns. He averaged 17.22 yds/catch and 71.4 yds/game. Julio Jones' first year stats? 58 receptions, 924 yards, 4 touchdowns. There is no way Chris Black can approach that level of success without a rash of unmentionable injuries to other receivers.
bammer- Do you want the realistic or Gump answer first? (both are acceptable btw) Realistically he's going to have a hard time breaking into the regular rotation let alone becoming an immediate starter. The 2013 Bama receiving core has a chance to be the greatest we have ever seen, and that's without the prospect of Black being a star. That said, if he does live up to his potential we could see him come out of summer camp the #2 WR just behind Cooper. My gut says he falls somewhere in-between.
Gump answer- He's gonna make us all ask, "Amari who?"
Erik: There is simply no way that you can expect a break-out year for Chris Black. Ours is a balanced offense, with a heavy emphasis on physical play (still, 30 passing TDs...would you have ever believed that at Alabama?). On top of Amari Cooper, who is a matchup nightmare at the college level, we will still heavily utilize the skills of Norwood. Christon Jones has done nothing to forfeit his share of snaps and passes thrown his way. I'd also expect to see the TEs (a position at which we are very deep with balanced and pass-catching guys) more involved in the passing game. There's also that little matter of passes to backs: Mark Ingram caught 60 passes for 670/4TDs; Trent had 68 for 730/7TDS; and even Lacy had 35 for 378/2 TDs: Yeldon, with 11 receptions as a backup, is much more in the Trent/Mark vein, so I'd expect to see 20 or so checkdowns/screens tossed his way. Then, we have a RB corps which is legitimately six-deep.
I just don't see where the balls are going to come from to have this absurd returning wealth and still have another star WR emerge. I'd think 18-25 receptions, 300 yards or so, and 2-3 TDs would be a successful R.Freshman campaign for Chris Black (barring, of course, "unmentionable injuries" to the WR corps).
Assuming he makes the team, Jai Miller will be playing for Bama at age 30 in a couple of years. Would that make him the oldest? If not, do you know who does hold that distinction? - Jordan
Slice: Well, unfortunately it seems that my search for an answer has come up empty. My gut says it's unlikely that Bama has ever fielded anyone older, but I'm going to pass this one on to the mob and see if we can come up with a definitive answer.
bammer- Have you seen a picture of DJ Fluker? He looked at least 31 as a freshman.
In your opinion, which of the following "lost" seniors is set to make the most impact this fall to finish their careers on a high note: Tana Patrick, Kellen Williams, or Nick Perry? I would consider all three of the these players pretty much a bust when I look at their on field accomplishments to date. Tana Patrick's crimson career has been especially disappointing to me and it will be hard for him to see the field this fall as a linebacker with CJ, Trey and even Reggie (and possibly Reuben Foster) ahead of him. - Dukeman
Slice: At this point, I think only one of those guys can play their way into a starting role - Nick Perry. Perry was dynamite in the A day game, dropping big hits and hauling in two interceptions. I thought he looked to be playing for a starting job more than anyone else that stepped on the field that day. If that intensity and production continues through summer camp, look for him to not only play a big role this season, but have his name become well known nation wide this fall.
I think there is a chance for Tana to play his way into a situational role at linebacker, but Kellen Williams will only start if there are multiple injuries across the offensive line.
bammer- My heart says Tana but my head says Perry. And if Williams sees the field something very terrible happened and our season is probably over. It's not that he's a bad player but if he couldn't win the starting job in Spring, as a senior, the only way he starts during the season is if we have a rash of injuries.
As Slice pointed out Perry had a great A-day and Tana only saw the playing time he received due to injuries to the starting LB's. Both Tana and Perry had the unfortunate circumstance of playing behind some extremely talented LB's and DB's. I don't consider them busts just because they couldn't crack the rotation. When you recruit like 'Bama has there will be some players who just get lost in the mix.
Well, that will wrap up this week's Roll Bama Roll mailbag. Feel free to give your responses in the comments and/or let me know why I'm completely right/wrong about my responses. And remember to send in your questions for future editions of Roll Bama Roll mailbag to RBRmailbag@gmail.com.