SDS will be looking at each SEC team’s spring practice and address concerns entering and exiting on both sides of the ball.
Offensive line will be fine: The offensive line became the focal point of the spring after losing DJ Fluker, Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and position coach Jeff Stoutland. Nick Saban’s hire of Mario Cristobal certainly adds to an already stout coaching staff, but Ryan Kelly slid right into Jones’ vacancy at center. Arie Kouandjio takes Warmack’s left guard position, ironically right next to his brother Cyrus, and Austin Shepherd looks to be the starting right tackle, although JUCO transfer Leon Brown continues to battle for the gig. Overall, though, Alabama’s line will be strong enough to make another championship run.
TJ Yeldon and the Heisman: How did TJ Yeldon start his Heisman run? Simply showing up bigger, faster and stronger than he looked a year before. Yeldon, much like last year, won the A-Day MVP award, totaling 130 yards and one touchdown. Another summer of increased strength and explosion should further catapult Yeldon into the Heisman conversation in 2013.
AJ McCarron’s backup? The most impressive backup quarterback in the A-Day game was Alec Morris. Morris looked better than Blake Sims and Phillip Ely. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 141 yards and no interceptions. Although Morris is a redshirt candidate, he’ll battle with current backup Sims for the official backup role. Let’s just hope AJ McCarron stays healthy all year.
Jeoffrey Pagan will be a player: The main focus on defense this spring was the three lost impact players to the front three. While others emerged, no one has a brighter future than defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan. Pagan showed his high level of athleticism and impact ability, and you can count Pagan as one who will make a big impact this fall.
Geno Smith is the next secondary star: Deion Belue has already decided one corner slot, but Geno Smith could have the most upside of any corner on the roster. He has lockdown potential and all the makings of Nick Saban’s next great corner. Smith made nine tackles and two breakups in 2012 as a true freshman.
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