Questions to Ask Heading into Alabama’s Fall Camp


What should we be looking for as Alabama football heads into fall camp?
Stop what you’re doing (but then you know like keep reading this) and just take a moment to embrace this news that I’m about to lay on you. Alabama football is back this week. Okay, it’s not Wisconsin hate week yet but we do have Fall practice. Probably the best part of all this is now everything you read will actually be about football and not bad alternate jersey rumors or overreacting to soundbites when a coach is giving an interview. The worst part of the off-season is over, we have now reached level wrap all of our players in bubble wrap and critique every single throw by the Quarterbacks. So to help guide everyone into this transition, I’m going to present my questions that I want answered before Alabama heads to Dallas and my reasoning for them. Now look, this is hot and exclusive content because anyone who is anyone (my mom, a guy at Buffalo Phil’s who keeps asking me to help with his crossword and a whole three twitter users) have asked me what should they be looking for heading into camp. So here we go.
Who will win the QB battle?
The number of contenders for this cage match would give the GOP a run for their money. Jake Coker, the highly-touted QB from FSU, appears to be the favorite. He sat in favor of Blake Sims last season but did play a few snaps and started with the first team offense during this year’s A-Day. David Cornwell is someone to look out for, he may provide the most competition for the spot and unlike Coker, he will have eligibility remaining after this season. Which may give him a little bump if the team decides against another stop-gap player. The darkhorse out of the group is Blake Barnett, one of the top recruits in last year’s class. Barnett has been hard at work this off-season and if neither of the previously mentioned guys solidifies the job, would it be all that crazy for Saban to roll with someone so young? Wait, I just made another question…ugh.
I am an Alabama fan and I am worried about the RB position, should I start taking crazy pills?
According to football experts, Derrick Henry is pretty good at football. So Alabama has a starter, check. Kenyan Drake is back healthy and from all accounts, isn’t having any problems with his leg. Again more good news but then after that, this is where I have questions. Drake is expected to line up all over the field for the Alabama offense so he’s not going to be the truest RB this year. Throw in Bo Scarbrough coming off an ACL tear and now I’m thinking Lane Kiffin should start sacrificing a live chicken before every game to ensure Henry stays healthy. If Freshman Damien Harris has a nice Fall camp and Ronnie Clark picks up his new position quickly, then at least the depth chart won’t look too bad.
Who will fill the void left by the departed Amari Cooper?
This question is pretty easy to answer, but it remains popular among the fan base. See here’s the thing, last year we witnessed one of the greatest season performances by anyone who has put on the crimson and white. That creates a bigger question than it should be entering this year because Amari Cooper’s production level was just so crazy. (Also, I may be biased but Cooper was robbed of the Heisman last year, kind of like how Matthew McConaughey was robbed of an Emmy for True Detective.) When you look at the roster, your mind should quickly become at ease. Just like at Chipotle, there is really no wrong option to go with. Chris Black has settled into the slot position nicely, Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewart exploded this Spring, Raheem Falkins is a big red zone target, the transfer Richard Mullaney will look to at least provide great depth, and then there is the highly talented Freshman Calvin Ridley. Non-Alabama fans probably don’t know any of the players I just mentioned, but this group is talented enough to be at the top in position rankings by the end of the year.
Apr 18, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (13) catches a pass for the touchdown for the white team as Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Maurice Smith (21) defends for the Crimson team at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
So what’s going to happen at the Safety position?
For the sake of not asking a million questions and this article ending up longer than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I am cutting it off here. The offensive line is undergoing a makeover, but they’re set at the two most important positions in the trenches, the Guards will soon have their name recognition and Dominik Jackson will be a terror on the opposite side of Cam Robinson. As for the Cornerbacks, Cyrus Jones is back for his Senior year and Tony Brown is an absolute stud of an athlete. Then of course Marlon Humphrey is ready after taking a red-shirt year to hold down the 3rd spot.
So that leaves the last big question, who starts at Safety? For the first time in a while, there isn’t that big name at the position. No Mark Barron, no Robert Lester, no HaHa Clinton-Dix, no Landon Collins, etc. etc. Instead, Alabama has players hungry wanting to be that next big name. Eddie Jackson moves over from the outside to provide help over the top, Geno Smith looks to finally become a big time contributor, Laurence “Hootie” Jones will push for playing time, and one Freshman turning heads is Ronnie Harrison, who may see the field sooner rather than later.
What makes this season exciting and nerve racking at the same time is the unknown, which Alabama has plenty of this year. After the craziness that has happened the last couple of seasons, I’m not sure my body is ready for even more unknowns headed into the Fall. Here’s hoping these questions and more are answered in the upcoming weeks.

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