Not many people outside of the coaching staffs and players expect much when the Crimson Tide plays the Colorado State Rams Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The nation sees the two teams as opposites in terms of skill leverl; the 40-points point spread is evidence of that.
In fact, this game has more impact on the 2014 and 2015 seasons than it does the 2013 one for both teams. Former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain is trying to turn around the Colorado State program, and Alabama is working to play its young, inexperienced talent.
Coach Nick Saban all but said it was open season for the cornerback positions during his weekly Monday press conference. Therefore, fans should expect to see several new faces on the field against Colorado State.
Deion Belue left Alabama’s game against Texas A&M on Saturday early due to an apparent turf toe injury. Saban listed Belue as questionable for this week’s game. He hasn’t practiced with the defensive backs during the media viewing times. The odds of Belue playing seem to be very low.
In Tuesday’s media viewing session, Bradley Sylve was spotted with the first team. Doesn’t mean he will start Saturday, but it does mean Saban didn’t lie when saying he was mixing up the secondary.
Saturday’s game serves a bigger purpose to future seasons rather than this season, because of those young guys Saban discussed on Monday. Alabama’s head coach wants to get his younger defensive backs game experience; something they did not get in 2012. He showed some regret late in the 2012 season about not playing Geno Smith as a freshman earlier in the season. Don’t expect him to make the same mistake in 2013.
While Saban looks to let Belue and others rest from the nail-bitrer against the Aggies, he also looks to play guys like Sylve, Jabriel Washington, Smith, Maurice Smith, or any of the other three freshman cornerbacks. As those players get more experience along with Cyrus Jones, the 2014 and 2015 defenses only get better.
Pay attention to what the younger guys are doing when the game looks out of hand, because they are learning and gaining experience for the future. Take your chance to watch these players now rather than freaking out next August about the loss of Belue and Fulton.
If you’re looking to go to Bryant Denny this Saturday, Alabama football tickets are still available.