Alabama Football: Keep an eye on key backups against Austin Peay

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Clear the bench should be a rallying cry before lunch on Saturday. Alabama Football will have ample opportunity to use a slew of backups.

Alabama does not need to embarrass Austin Peay, although a blowout will result. It would be bad form to run up the score. Just as it was when Josh Heupel did it against Missouri last Saturday. In his post-game explanation, Heupel was unapologetic for scoring with 36 seconds left in the game, to push a 59-24 Tennessee to 66-24. He could have admitted the Vols were playing for style points.

Alabama Football vs. Austin Peay

There are many factors in deciding what players get meaningful snaps against the Governors. Nick Saban could sit Bryce Young, as I suggested a few days ago, but, Young and the Tide’s unsettled receivers might need more game reps.

After a three-touchdown lead, sitting Bryce makes sense. That could give plenty of opportunity for Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson to work with the first unit some before the second and third unit offensive players finish the game.

In Simpson’s case, there is a question of preserving a redshirt. The freshman has played in three games. Only Nick Saban, Ty, and his family can know whether preserving the redshirt is important. He has thrown just three passes so far in his college career and plenty of snaps should be available to him on Saturday.

If redshirting Simpson is a strong possibility, he should not play Saturday. Skipping Saturday, he could play against Auburn or in the bowl game if needed.

At running back, with Jahmyr Gibbs gimpy, freshman Jamarion Miller could see quite a few snaps. Miller’s use on special teams means a redshirt is out. He has not had a carry since the Vanderbilt game.

Along with transfer, Tyler Harrell, a number of little-used wide receivers should see action. Alabama fans are hopeful Harrell will suddenly blossom into a deep threat. So far, the redshirt senior Harrell has one catch in his Crimson Tide career.

Crimson Tide fans can look for freshman wideout, Emmanuel Henderson to get more than special teams action. Having finally recovered from injury, freshman wideout Aaron Anderson could see his first game action of the season.

Several defensive backups can get considerable snaps against the Governors. On the defensive line, look for Damon Payne, Jah-Marien Latham and Jamil Burroughs. At linebacker, Deontae Lawson and Quandarrius Robinson should be busy, as well as Chris Braswell.

Alabama football fans have been hoping for an emergence by Kendrick Blackshire, but the Tide’s sophomore is still recovering from a wrist injury.

Eli Ricks is day-to-day and may not play against Austin Peay. Along with Terrion Arnold stepping in for Ricks, two or three backup defensive backs should see more than special teams action.

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While Crimson Tide fans will be looking for some variety in key roles and play-calling. First, the always-precise Nick Saban will want to wrap up the victory.