RUNNING BACK Alabama: The running game was a one-man show last season under Derrick Henry, but that isn't a trend. Sophomores Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris will be the lead dogs, but freshmen BJ Emmons and Joshua Jacobs could each play a role. -- Scarborough
USC: Senior Justin Davis and sophomore Ronald Jones II are both threats to run for over 1,000 yards in an offense that is expected to be more run heavy than in years past. Don't forget about Aca'Cedric Ware either; the sophomore has taken big strides since last year and should earn more carries. -- Bonagura
Verdict: Edge USC
Alabama offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor was found not guilty of driving under the influence Tuesday morning, Taylor's lawyer, Jason Neff, confirmed with AL.com. Taylor was arrested in July and charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. "We are very happy with this ruling and hope that he will now have the opportunity to move forward with his football career," Neff said in a statement released to AL.com.
Shepherd joined the Vikings as a seventh-round draft pick out of Alabama last year. He played in 14 games and a playoff contest as a rookie, getting on the field for 28 offensive snaps and 42 special-teams plays during the 2015 regular season. Shepherd had hardly gotten an opportunity to play during the Vikings' three preseason games. He played 18 offensive and two special-teams snaps in Minnesota's preseason opener. In the two games since, though, his participation was limited to four special-teams plays.
The Arizona Cardinals waived 12 players on Monday afternoon, including former Alabama quarterback Jake Coker. NFL teams can have as many as 90 players on their rosters now. But at 3 p.m. CDT Tuesday, the limit drops to 75. Teams must have their rosters at the regular-season maximum of 53 players by 3 p.m. Saturday.
USC head coach Clay Helton announced Monday night on his appearance on the Trojan Live show that sophomore tackle Chuma Edoga would be starting against No. 1 Alabama over senior Chad Wheeler, who has been dealing with plantar fasciitis.
Wheeler has missed close to two weeks of practice as the the team has been experimenting with right tackle Zach Banner on the left and Edoga on the right. The last several practices, Edoga has played the left side.
[The coaches] didn't say too much," Pierschbacher said. "I just came in the meetings that day and they said, 'You're going to be playing guard.'" On Monday, when the depth chart was released, his new role was confirmed. "It really wasn't a competition at center," Alabama coach Nick Saban explained.
"It was more [about] what's the best combination of guys for us to play. That's kind of how it is." Still, given the timing of the switch, it seemed odd. The Tide's season opener against USC was nearing, and there were questions at other positions -- namely quarterback and running back. But Pierschbacher is rolling with the sudden move. "I am willing to do whatever it takes for us to put the best unit out there," he said.
"If that's best for the team, then that's in my best interest, too."