It is that time of year when Alabama and much of the SEC turn to lesser programs (aka cupcakes) to fatten up their records before Rivalry Weekend. For the Crimson Tide, the chosen opponent is Austin Peay. The Governors are an FCS team with a 7-3 record. While being a decent FCS team (one vote outside of the top 25), there is not much reason to think that Alabama will struggle with them. Thus, it is likely that several Bama reserves will see game action.
STARTERS IN NEED OF REST
Saban typically starts all his starters whether it is an SEC game or a cupcake. With Austin Peay on the slate, it might be tempting to sit a few players so they can rest up for the Iron Bowl and the post-season.
- Bryce Young hurt his shoulder during the first half of the Arkansas game. He has said that he feels okay, but limiting his playing time on Saturday might be wise.
- Starting running back Jahmyr Gibbs sprained an ankle and sat out most of the Ole Miss game.
- Erring on the side of safety, it might be best to let cornerback Eli Ricks take the weekend off to clear the cobwebs from his head injury.
- Defensive linemen DJ Dale and Jaheim Oatis both missed the Mississippi State game with an injury.
- Part-time starting center Darrian Dalcourt has been in and out of the line-up all season. Reportedly, it has been due to nagging injuries but it could be performance related. His minutes on Saturday will be telling.
- Offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor has been battling injuries since the spring but has played in all ten games.
TO REDSHIRT OR NOT TO REDSHIRT
In 2018, the redshirt rule was changed with the NCAA passing legislation to allow football players to participate in up to four games (regular season or post-season) without burning a year of eligibility.
It’s decision time for edge rusher Jeremiah Alexander. He is the only freshman who has played in four games this season (ULM, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Texas A&M), mostly due to a guy named Will Anderson playing ahead of him. Alexander is a former 5-star and expected to be a future star. So, he may not need a fifth season before going pro.
A decision must also be made with sophomore tight end Miles Kitselman who came to Alabama after a season in juco. He has also played in four games (Utah State, Texas, ULM, Vanderbilt). He caught two passes for 18 yards against Utah State.
REDSHIRT STILL INTACT
The following freshmen can see the field against APSU and not lose their redshirt:
3 games - Ty Simpson, Shazz Preston, Danny Lewis. It seems like a slam dunk that quarterback Simpson will get a good deal of playing time on Saturday, his fourth game. The danger here is that to save his redshirt, he will not be able to play against Auburn and in the Bowl game. Should Young and Jalen Milroe both get hurt or if Young gets hurt and Milroe struggles, Saban will be stuck with a difficult choice. Alabama seems deep enough at wide receiver and tight end where they won’t need Preston or Lewis in Games 12 and 13.
2 games - Shawn Murphy, Earl Little. It is highly doubtful that these two play in all three of the final games.
1 game - Tre’Quon Fegans, Antonio Kite, Isaiah Hastings, Elijah Brown.
0 games - Jake Pope, Elijah Pritchett, Khurtiss Perry.
Edge rusher Jihaad Campbell played in his fifth game on Saturday. Nine true freshmen have now played in five or more games, which means they can no longer redshirt.
10 games - Kobe Prentice, Isaiah Bond, Emmanuel Henderson, Jamarion Miller. Henderson and Miller have played mostly on special teams. Hopefully, Miller gets a long look at running back on Saturday.
9 games - Tyler Booker, Jaheim Oatis. For some reason, Booker did not play against LSU. He is an intricate part of this offense and should be a starter in 2023. Oatis had started 7 games this year.
8 games - Amari Niblack, Kendrick Law. Niblack is pretty much the back-up to Cameron Latu at tight end and likely 2023 starter. Law had three receptions versus Ole Miss for 26 yards.
5 games - Jihaad Campbell. Hopefully, Tide fans get a good long look at this former 5-star versus APSU.
- Wide receiver Tyler Harrell is a fifth year senior who already took a redshirt when he was at Louisville. Due to a lingering foot injury, he has only played against Mississippi State, LSU, and Ole Miss. It remains to be seen if Saban brings him back for a bonus super-senior year or if Harrell wants to head to the NFL after the season.
- Wide receiver Aaron Anderson has not played this season due to a knee injury. Saban mentioned this week that Anderson is “finally healthy”. This comment appears to be an indication that the freshman might see the field on Saturday.
How much will Bryce Young play against APSU?
This poll is closed
He will not play.
First couple of series.
Up to the first series of the third quarter.
Into the fourth quarter.