Well, we're in the thick of it now, friends. College football season has officially kicked off, and we had quite an interesting night last night. As for Bama's upcoming foes, one opponent (Ole Miss) did their part in removing any fear of an upset, while another (Texas A&M) came out firing on all cylinders and moved from the "gimme" column to the "uh oh" column (at least in my mind).
That being said, Brandon over at TeamSpeedKills has a word of caution on overanalyzing the first game...
Here's your annual reminder: It's easy to read far too much into the first game of the college football season. College football remains the only major sport in America without a preseason, meaning that the way first games unfold can be incredibly deceptive. But with that out of the way -- there appeared to be a very good team on the field in Columbia when South Carolina played Texas A&M on Thursday night, and it wasn't the Gamecocks.
Now, it's true we can't read too much into last night. After all, we don't really know how good/bad South Carolina is to begin with, so ATM trouncing them may or may not be all that impressive at the end of the day. A few things we can read into:
1) Kenny Hill is at the very least a competent quarterback, and may well be a very good one. I heard use of the name "Kenny Football" last night, and I already hate it. Is there any chance we can avoid using that?
2) Replacing Mike Evans might not have been that big of a deal after all. Ricky Seals Jones and Speedy Noil are two dynamite receivers that should make every defensive coordinator in the conference nervous.
Now, all that being said, watch this video and try not to laugh, remembering that this is after winning a single, regular season game.
My God, Aggies. Get it together.
And the big news from CBS late last night:
Blake Sims will be Alabama's starting quarterback on Saturday against West Virginia barring any unexpected last-minute changes, according to a source. Touted FSU transfer Jacob Coker will be the backup but is expected to play against the Mountaineers.
This is considered an open audition and both quarterbacks will have their chances to strengthen their case in the Georgia Dome.
Well that... changes nothing. This is just confirmation of what we have known for weeks - this competition will bleed out into live action.
"I really do think people need to understand that I know everybody wants answers and everybody wants to have great hope that a certain player's going to be able to do certain things at whatever position it might be," Saban said. "But to be fair to all the players, every player has the opportunity to compete and somebody has to beat somebody out to have credibility with your team.
"My job is to play the best players and the guys that have done best the job for this game. For this game. That does not mean that it's going to stay that way. It does not mean that if you're the starting pitcher that you're going to pitch for nine innings. The manager sometimes comes in and takes the guy out. All these things are options that are available."
Asked if there would be situations where one quarterback would replace the other because of a pre-planned arrangement, Saban said, "I think that's certainly a possibility."
Preparation has been a logistical nightmare for the West Virginia defensive staff, which has split its time between USC and Alabama game film and is trying to scout two quarterbacks with different styles who never have started a game.
West Virginia senior associate head coach Tom Bradley expects it to be “a balancing act.”
“Will Coach Kiffin bring in his wrinkles? Absolutely,” Bradley said earlier this week. “What they are, we don’t know. … You just try to take a guess and figure out what they may be trying to get done.”
Every defensive coordinator will agree in-game adjustments are crucial, but, with the uncertainties blanketing the powerful Alabama offense, it will be more important than ever.
“If we’re having issues, we’re not going to wait until halftime [to make fixes],” Gibson said. “It may be over by then.”
-- Will all the RBs play against West Virginia? Saban said three will play (Yeldon, Henry and Drake). So if there were questions about Drake being suspended for his summer arrest, that's not going to be the case.
-- Who does WVU's offense resemble? Texas A&M, Saban said before getting technical. Texas Tech and Oklahoma State also look the same. They throw a lot of screens, bubble passes and it goes fast.
Saban continued to praise Cam Robinson, the starter at left tackle. He also mention junior college transfer Dominick Jackson is working at left tackle as well. The slightly more experienced player "could have been a starter," but a sprained ankle in the first scrimmage stunted his growth. A few other freshmen could work into some playing time on the offensive line including Ross Pierschbacher "could play if he continues to develop." At receiver, Saban said Cam Sims has a shot at some playing time after enrolling in the spring. Also look for redshirt freshmen Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewert to work into some time.
Nick Saban opened fall camp with a lofty bit of rhetoric. Speaking with reporters for the first time since spring practice ended, he said how important it was for players to understand that, "The time is now." Everything they'd done during the offseason -- "from conditioning to running the stadium steps" -- had led to this. How the season would play out, he said, was up to them. "The challenge is to sort of resurrect our identity, in terms of what we want Alabama football to be," he said.
Denzell Devall interview