Alabama Football is gearing up to host the Texas Longhorns, but competition within the program never ceases.
After another week of practices, the depth chart this week may not look the same as it did last week against Middle Tennessee State.
First and foremost, the backup quarterback situation continues to be a developing story. Jalen Milroe appears to be the man after a five-touchdown performance in week one, and could cement himself permanently as the starter with another impressive outing against Texas.
The backup spot is a different story. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Buchner and redshirt freshman Ty Simpson played well against MTSU, both scoring their first touchdown in an Alabama uniform.
However, neither has really shown separation as the clear no. 2 guy. For now, Buchner is QB2 due to his experience. Simpson and even true freshman Dylan Lonergan will continue to push the Notre Dame transfer all season.
Heading into the Texas game, the secondary is a potential concern for Alabama Football fans. Injuries in the secondary have caused a lot of moving and shifting, so it is uncertain how the unit will look this weekend.
The good news is that starting star Malachi Moore and starting safety Jaylen Key look like they will suit up. If either player is limited, Bama will need other members of the secondary to step up. Senior safety Kristian Story, transfer cornerback Trey Amos, and redshirt freshman corner Earl Little II could play critical roles.
Also included in the injury report is inside linebacker Jihaad Campbell. Projected as a starter in the preseason, Campbell missed the first game with a minor knee injury, but is expected to play against Texas. Campbell’s abbreviated absence could have given Trezmen Marshall an opportunity to close the gap between the two, so it will be interesting to see who starts next to Deontae Lawson at inside linebacker this week.
The right guard position features another competition that will likely continue all year. Veteran grad student Darrian Dalcourt is one of the more experienced and versatile members of the offensive line, and got the start in week one. However, redshirt sophomore TJ Ferguson is considered to have the higher upside of the two. This was a very close battle in fall camp, so it’s very possible that Dalcourt is playing with a short leash.
Lastly, competition will continue for Alabama Football at wide receiver and on the defensive line. These position groups are unique because they rotate so often and utilize a lot of bodies, regardless of who “starts.”
At receiver, senior Jermaine Burton and sophomores Isaiah Bond and Kobe Prentice got a lot of snaps against MTSU. Junior Ja’Corey Brooks did not play much last week, presumably for disciplinary reasons, and should be a much bigger factor against Texas.
JUCO transfer Malik Benson also saw limited snaps in week one. Benson is one of Bama’s most explosive receivers, and was one of its most hyped offseason additions. Will the Texas game be his coming out party?
On the defensive line, the rotation is fairly solid. Senior Justin Eboigbe and sophomore Jaheim Oatis will be on the field the most, followed by senior Tim Smith and redshirt sophomore nose guard Tim Keenan III. Redshirt junior Jah-Marien Latham and redshirt sophomore Damon Payne round out the regular rotation.
This is a solid group, but look for youngsters like true freshman James Smith to keep pushing. If someone like Smith can displace an older player in the rotation as the season progresses, it will speak volumes to Bama’s depth and talent on the defensive line.
Iron sharpens iron, and, under Coach Nick Saban, Alabama Football has always used competition to improve its roster throughout the season. With certain position battles being so close, there could be some changes to the starting lineup this week.