What to watch for during Alabama’s spring game

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A-Day Game

When: Saturday, April 20th
Where: Tuscaloosa, AL
Time: 3:00 PM
TV: ESPN2

Who you won’t see: Two rising superstars, RB Derrick Henry and LB Trey DePriest, will be notably absent Saturday. Henry broke his tibia and DePriest broke his foot. We know what DePriest can do, as he was a key player in the Tide’s run for a championship last season, but everyone was looking forward to seeing the debut of the potential-packed Henry. Henry should be back for fall camp, but the A-Day lost luster with his absence.

One position group to watch: Alabama’s defensive line is the most intriguing watch Saturday. With nose tackle Jesse Williams and ends Quinton Dial and Damion Square gone, Alabama must replace their starting three at the point of attack. Ed Stinson is the weathered veteran of the group, along with upper classmen and backups Jeoffrey Pagan and Brandon Ivory. Stinson, Pagan and Ivory are the core three returners, and Tomlinson, Darren Lake and LaMichael Fanning are rising youngsters, with Tomlinson looking like a breakout caliber player of the group in 2013.

Keep your eye on: With Derrick Henry out, make sure you check out fellow early enrollee OJ Howard. Howard could play a number of positions on offense, but he’s most likely to contribute at H-back than tight end in his first season. He’s built like a wide receiver and needs to add weight to become a good blocker. Therefore, it’s expected that Alabama will use him at receiver, H-back and a pass-catching tight end. Howard’s potential is through the roof, and Alabama can’t keep him off the field this fall. I can’t wait to see this kid play in the Tide’s offense.

A stacked house: Several talk about the running back position being stacked for the Tide, but another position that’s really stacked is wide receiver. With all-star Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, Kenny Bell, Kevin Norwood, Christion Jones and Cyrus Jones, the Tide have some real playmakers and reliable hands in the corps. All total, the six receivers return 144 catches for 2,416 yards and 24 touchdowns, giving the Tide 66 percent of their receptions back, along with 79 percent of their receiving yards and 77 percent of their touchdowns. That’s nasty.

Photo Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

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COMMENTS

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  • Two more areas of the game to watch are Alabama’s cornerbacks and O-line. Replacing Barrett Jones, DJ Fluker, and Chance Warmack is no easy task, but Alabama’s new O-line has a ton of potential with Cyrus Kouandjio, Arie Kouandjio, Ryan Kelly, Anthony Steen, and Austin Shepherd. Saban also brought in two more RT’s to battle with Austin Shepherd – JUCO Leon Brown and Brandon Hill. At CB, Saban and Smart have to replace All American Dee Milliner. The most likely candidate is Geno Smith. Former big-time CB recruit will be available to compete soon, but it sidelined right now due to injury.

    ** Just a side note to Alabama’s WR Corps, Chris Black and Raheem Falkins are two guys who could see some serious playing time this Fall.

  • EDIT * That former big-time CB recruit is referring to John Fulton