Alabama Football: What We Learned from the Depth Chart


As expected, Alabama football head coach Nick Saban released the first official depth chart for the 2015 season and with it came a lot of chatter from fans and media alike. Several questions were answered with the depth chart while several more answers are left to be answered. For one, it seems like the defense is much more sured up, in terms of the depth chart, than the offense with multiple position battles still going on with the offense. The most glaring part of the depth chart, though, was the QB position which was sure to be the focal point regardless. Let’s take a look at some of the things we learned from the depth chart release.

Nick Saban: King of Trolls
With this depth chart, Nick Saban may have trolled all of us, especially the media, with the QB position. In away, it looks like he listed every single scholarship QB as a “co-starter” at the position but Jake Coker, Cooper Bateman, and Alec Morris got their own line at the top. Most people expected to at least figure out who the top two or even three officially was with this depth chart, but Saban may have thrown everyone for a loop. More than likely not, only does Saban know who the starter will be on Saturday already but just did this to mess with everyone. It has also been speculated that at least two QBs will play in the opener against Wisconsin. Saban pretty much confirmed in his press conference that Coker, Morris, and Bateman were splitting the first-team reps this week in practice.

Several Freshman Making an Early Impact
On the depth chart, nine true freshmen are listed on the two-deep with receiver Calvin Ridley, cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, and nose tackle Daron Payne all listed as either a starter or co-starter at their positions. Payne has been make noise all camp and it seems that he has done such a great job that Alabama has moved A’Shawn Robinson permanently back to his former defensive end spot with Payne and Lake sharing the “starter” label at nose now. This is the best case scenario for the defensive line as Robinson’s natural position is defensive end and he is a terror at that spot. Fitzpatrick is listed as the Tide’s top “star” nickel corner and with Alabama playing as much as it does in nickel defense, it means the true freshman will be on the field a lot. All world freshman receiver Calvin Ridley is listed as a co-starter with Robert Foster at the “X” receiver position. As it seems he will jump right into the receiver rotation as a true freshman much like Julio Jones and Amari Cooper did in years past. Also, freshman Ronnie Harrison is the backup behind Eddie Jackson at one of the safety positions and Chance Warmack’s “baby” brother Dallas Warmack is listed as Ross Pierschbacher’s primary backup at left guard. Freshman tight end Hale Hentges is listed as the backup at one of the tight end spots and receiver Daylon Charlot is listed behind ArDarius Stewart at “Z” meaning that there will likely be two true freshman receivers in the rotation there. Damien Harris is also listed third behind Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake at running back meaning he will likely get some carries throughout the season.

Cam Sims May Be Back Already
Cam Sims is listed as a co-backup at “Z” with Daylon Charlot and Nick Saban even went as far as to suggest that Sims may just be ready to play against Wisconsin this week. That is remarkable considering he tore his ACL just this past spring. Sims returned to practice with the Tide on August 19th and though it is still unlikely for him to play this Saturday I fully expect him to jump into the receiver rotation by mid-season. Saban did say that he has been cleared although a decision hasn’t been made on if he will see some time on Saturday. He will bring a great physical presence to the position that will be much welcomed.

This Defensive Line is Scary
This may not be some big revelation, but that defensive line is unbelievably scary. I truly believe any of the six defensive ends at the two outside spots could and would start at any division 1 school in the country. Alabama will be going nine deep, and possibly even more, at that position with A’Shawn Robinson, Jonathan Allen, and DJ Pettway at one end spot; Jarran Reed, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Da’Shawn Hand at the other end; and Darren Lake, Daron Payne, and Josh Frazier inside at the nose. Lake and Payne’s emergence in the middle may be the best revelation of this entire depth chart release because it means Robinson is back playing on the outside. As effective as he was at nose last season, defensive end is where he truly shines in the 3-4 defense. When Alabama moves to the 4-3 Robinson will likely move inside to play alongside Payne/Lake at defensive end with Jonathan Allen or Da’Shawn Hand coming to play as the other outside end opposite of Reed. In fact if Alabama wanted to just bring in a scary rush package, they could use Allen and Hand on the outside with Robinson and Reed on the inside and either Evans or Tim Williams rushing off the edge from a linebacker spot. The combinations Alabama can use across that line is truly scary and something I can not wait to see.

If you haven’t had a chance to check on the depth chart yet, here is the two deep again.

QB: #14 Jake Coker/#18 Cooper Bateman/#11 Alec Morris
RB: #2 Derrick Henry
LT: #74 Cameron Robinson
LG: #71 Ross Pierschbacher
C: #70 Ryan Kelly
RG: #50 Alphonse Taylor/#75 Bradley Bozeman
RT: #76 Dominick Jackson
Z: #13 ArDarius Stewart
X: #8 Robert Foster/#3 Calvin Ridley
H: #16 Richard Mullaney/#1 Chris Black
HB: #88 OJ Howard/#83 Ty Flournoy-Smith
TE: #94 Dakota Ball

DE: #86 A’Shawn Robinson
NT: #95 Darren Lake/#94 Daron Payne
DE: #90 Jarran Reed
SAM: #25 Dillon Lee
MIKE: #19 Reggie Ragland
WILL: #10 Reuben Foster
JACK: #30 Denzel Devall
CB: #5 Cyrus Jones
CB: #29 Marlon Humphrey
SS: #4 Eddie Jackson
FS: #24 Geno Matias-Smith
STAR: #29 Minkah Fitzpatrick

K: #99 Adam Griffith
P: #15 JK Scott
KOR: #17 Kenyan Drake/#13 ArDarius Stewart
PR: #5 Cyrus Jones

QB: #6 Blake Barnett/#12 David Cornwell
RB: #17 Kenyan Drake
LT: #66 Lester Cotton
LG: #59 Dallas Warmack
C: #63 JC Hassenauer
RG: #72 Richie Pettibon
RT: #58 Brandon Greene
Z: #4 Daylon Charlot/#7 Cam Sims
X: #23 Deionte Thompson
TE: #84 Hale Hentges
HB: #46 Michael Nysewander

DE: #93 Jonathan Allen
NT: #69 Joshua Frazier
DE: #54 Dalvin Tomlinson
SAM: #32 Rashaan Evans
MIKE: #20 Shaun Dion Hamilton
WILL: #42 Keith Holcombe
JACK: #22 Ryan Anderson
CB: #3 Bradley Sylve
CB: #7 Tony Brown/#29 Minkah Fitzpatrick
SS: #15 Ronnie Harrison
FS: #23 Jabriel Washington
STAR: #7 Tony Brown

K: #15 JK Scott
P: #11 Alec Morris
KOR: #5 Cyrus Jones & #1 Chris Black
PR: #1 Chris Black