About Me

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My name is Eric. My love of and loyalty to the University of Alabama football team is unparalleled and completely inappropriate. I hate all other teams, and wish them peril. Also, you can hear my music at www.reverbnation.com/EricBlackerby or www.youtube.com/EricBlackerbyMusic

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Alabama-Kent State Preview

After 9 months of anticipation, it is finally here. Alabama kicks off it's season on Saturday morning in Bryant Denny Stadium. It's opponent shouldn't put up much of a fight, but it is interesting to note a couple of things about Kent State.

It is Nick Saban's alma mater. And over a month before the season, Kent State players were in Tuscaloosa assisting with cleanup and rebuilding efforts from the April tornado. Nick Saban also has alot of emotion when recalling the shooting in 1971 at Kent St that he was almost in the middle of

The Golden Flashes have a few former players in the NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison. San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates. Cleveland Browns WR Josh Cribbs
Kent St head coach Darrell Hazell was the wide receivers coach at Ohio St when our incoming WR Duron Carter was there and has high praise for Duron

Kent State is 0-21 against top 25 teams, and they will be 0-22 in a few days. Clearly, this is a team that the Tide could score 80 or 90 points against if it chose to do so. But I feel like, being Saban's school, and with the respect they have earned from us with them helping Tuscaloosa, I don't see a 65-0 type of game.

Kent State's QB, Spencer Keith, is a 3rd year starter, who threw 11 interceptions last year to only 8 TDs.

Their starting RB, Jacquise Terry, is from Phenix City, AL. So he should be excited to play in Bryant Denny Stadium.

My prediction is that Bama will come out swinging, showing off the arms of our new quarterbacks, AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims. I think we will build a lead into the 2nd quarter, something like 35-0 or 42-0. I think at that point, just before the half, you will see alot of young guys and new faces. The second and third teamers and walk ons will take it the rest of the way from there, and I think the final result will be about 45-6 or 48-10

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Never Again: Alabama Looks To Repeat Miami's 1987 season

In 1986, the Miami Hurricanes were the number one team in college football. They had achieved this ranking by thoroughly dominating all opponents including Oklahoma in the season finale, 28-16

With a record of 11-0, they traveled to the Fiesta Bowl to play Penn St with a National Championship on the line. Miami was without argument the most talented group of players in the entire nation and they carried themselves as such, even showing up to the game in military fatigues. Everything they did, they did with a sense of entitlement, as if they could just show up and win because they were Miami and you had better just KNOW that they were gonna kick your ass.

In that Fiesta Bowl, they played sloppily and unprepared. Their All American QB Vinny Testaverde threw 4 INTs on the way to an embarrassing 14-10 loss. Penn St, NOT Miami ended that season as the National Champions

In 2010, The Alabama Crimson Tide entered the season as the preseason number one team in the nation, having just come off a National Championship and with a Heisman Trophy winning running back, Mark Ingram, coming back along with many other veteran players.

Most people accepted the fact that Alabama had the most talented team in the nation. After defeating Florida 31-6 in the second month of the season, it appeared that Alabama would be unstoppable on their run to a second straight National Championship.

Everyone knows that Alabama was quickly undone by the arrogance of entitlement and thinking, like Miami in '86, that they could just show up and kick your ass because they were Alabama and there was nothing you could do about it.

After the embarrassing Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn St, the Miami team entered the 1987 season with a simple mantra: Never Again.

Never again would they be embarrassed in such a way. They admitted publicly for the first time that even though they were more talented than everyone they played in 1986, they weren't a great team because they didn't win a Championship. And they set out to prove in '87 that they could be a great TEAM, even though they had lost their All American QB Testaverde to the NFL. They set out to prove that they could, with a new QB in Steve Walsh, do what the '86 team failed to do: Finish

At the conclusion of the 2010 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide humiliated itself in epic fashion by quickly jumping out to a 24-0 lead against the eventual National Champion Auburn Tigers, only to see Auburn come back and win that game 28-27.

Most reasonable people could see that Alabama was the more talented team, and that there was no excuse for them to lose that game. But, like Miami in '86, it was a culmination of a frustrating year in which many of the veteran players took it for granted that they didn't have to play their best to win. That, as I stated earlier, they could just show up and win.

Going into the 1987 season, Miami was ranked second in the AP poll to the Oklahoma Sooners, who had one of the best players in the country in linebacker Brian Bosworth, better known as The Boz. Miami had a new QB, and alot to prove

Going into the 2011 season, Alabama is ranked second to Oklahoma, who has a preseason Heisman candidate in QB Landry Jones. Alabama enters the season with a new QB, whether it be AJ McCarron or Phillip Sims, and alot to prove

In the months since that devastating Iron Bowl loss to Auburn, it has been widely publicized that Alabama players have taken the same mantra as Miami heading into 1987: Never Again

Trent Richardson says that he has a poster on his bedroom wall of the Iron Bowl score, 28-27, and under that the words "Never Again"

At SEC Media Days in July, Alabama's All American Safety Mark Barron was asked about the "Never Again" mantra. He replied, "It just means that never again will we go out and not play the way we know we can. Never again will we go out and not finish"

Miami entered the 1987 season with the motivation that never again would they be embarrassed the way they were against Penn St the year before.

In 1987, Miami went undefeated, completely destroying all opponents on the way to the National Championship that they knew they should've won the year before.

In 2011, Alabama enters the season with the motivation of last year's Iron Bowl embarrassment, and...well....

Never Again

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Geno Smith, Y'all!!!!!!!

One of the top cornerbacks in the nation coming out of high school next year announced yesterday that he would be playing for Alabama and Nick Saban.

As a defensive back, you can hardly make a better decision than to play for Saban, who is one of the best in the business at teaching DB's and putting them in the NFL.

It is especially sweet to get the 5'11", 170 lb Smith, because it was widely thought by many Auburn fans that he would be going to Auburn. In fact, his recent twitter profile pic was a pic of himself in an AU jersey posing with Trooper Taylor.

But Geno obviously decided for his football future, as opposed to partying and clowning around with an idiot like Taylor.

Geno said that attrition in Bama's secondary played a huge role for him in his decision. It is true that we could have been thin next year. Right now, at CB, we have Dre Kirkpatrick, Phelon Jones, DeQuan Menzie, John Fulton, and Jabriel Washington on scholarship. Kirkpatrick, Jones, and Menzie could all be gone after this year.

So it isn't hard to see that Geno should step right in and play as a freshman.

Personally, I am hoping for Geno to get a couple of picks and a sack in his first iron bowl facing off against future AU quarterback Zeke Pike. That is, if Pike ever sees the field for AU.

But that's another story for another day. I really didn't intend for this post to be so negative. Oh well

Roll Tide Geno!!!!!

Jeff Stoutland And Joe Pannunzio Should Be Fired

Before I even write this, I will preface it by saying this is an emotional response. As such, I could be completely wrong about many things you are about to read and I may wish to take them back later. I might feel a completely different way tomorrow. But as it stands right now...

I am not even going to get into all the details of this Miami football scandal. It is far too much that I don't even care to discuss. But 7 former Miami coaches have been implicated as being involved with, or having knowledge of, what is starting to look like the deepest system of NCAA infractions anyone has ever seen. If you were to list all of the major infractions you could commit, this case pretty much covers them all.

Players getting paid to go to The U? Check
Players receiving illegal benefits, including prostitutes, money, trips, and an abortion for a stripper that one player impregnated? Check
Players signing with a sports agency while still playing in college? Check

I mean, I could go on, but you get it. Now, this is as bad as it gets. But I don't really care what happens to Miami, or what they've done in the past, or if they ever play another game

The issue for me is two of the seven coaches who are accused of being involved.

Miami's former offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland, now holds the same position at Alabama, having been hired away from Miami just this year.
Miami's former Tight Ends Coach/Special Teams Coordinater Joe Pannunzio is now the Director Of Football Operations at Alabama.

And I almost don't care what these guys did or didn't do, or what they did or didn't know. If they were any part of that, I don't want them being a part of us. I want to break these guys off in the worst way. It is possible that they are proven cheaters, and with even that possibility I want them OUT of Tuscaloosa.

Alabama still has almost a year before we are off our most recent probation, in a run of 17 years where we have almost stayed on probation. People jump at the opportunity to accuse Bama of being dirty, and I don't want anything to do with a couple of first year members of our staff who are caught up in the middle of such an epic and deep seeded scandal.

If evidence comes to light that shows these guys to be in the clear, then I will admit I was wrong and be proud to have them

Perhaps, they didn't want anything to do with what they knew was going on down there and wanted to start over at a clean program.

I could speculate all damn day.

But as it stands, I don't want the University Of Alabama employing anyone who is accused of cheating, with almost certain proof as it stands now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Auburn Fans, I've Done You A Favor

First off, I will start by saying the following:

On September 10, in Jordan Hare Stadium, Auburn will beat Mississippi State. Without a shadow of a doubt. In fact, MSU might as well not even show up. There would be no point. The final outcome is already set in stone.

Want to know why I am so confident of this? The answer is simple. Because tonight, I bet a friend 20 bucks that MSU would beat AU. That's right. I bet 20 bucks straight up. And I bet on MSU to win.

But I don't understand, you say. Why did you just say Auburn is going to win the game, but then you said you bet MONEY on MSU to win? Because, God doesn't let me win bets. I've become convinced of it over the years.

Now, don't get confused. I'm not saying I want Auburn to win. And I'm not trying some weird voodoo to cause them to lose. I made the bet in the heat of the moment. My friend, who is of course an Auburn fan, was running his mouth saying there was no chance AU would lose to MSU. Several of us were arguing with him, so he said he would bet 20 bucks straight up with anyone who would take it. So I jumped. And then I realized I had sealed my fate. A fate which will include having to watch Auburn win, AND have to pay 20 bucks for it.

But perhaps I have left you in the dark as to how I have arrived at my beliefs here. So allow me to explain.

It was September of 2001. It was the week before Alabama would play South Carolina on the 29th. Alabama wasn't coming off the best season ever, having gone 3-8 in 2000, despite being ranked #3 preseason. South Carolina had just completed one of the biggest turnarounds in history by winning 8 games in 2000, after losing every single game in 1999. At the time, South Carolina had NEVER IN HISTORY beaten Alabama. Alabama was coming off a 31-10 thrashing of Arkansas, and I worked with a guy who was from the state of South Carolina. We talked alot of trash the week of the game, leading up to Saturday. Finally, on Friday it got so heated that I told him there was no way in HELL they were going to beat us, and I would put 50 bucks on it. He took the bet.

The next day I watched as Alabama would put up over 500 yards of offense on the way to a 36-24 lead with only minutes to go in the game. I was dancing in the living room. Obviously, Bama was about to win the game, my friend was going to have to shut his mouth and pay me 50 bucks. How could Bama lose when they were up 36-24 with only minutes to go. Final score: South Carolina 37, Alabama 36

I still, to this day, blame myself for that loss. I talked to much trash that week, and bet MONEY on Bama. And they lost. I was paid back for my arrogance and overconfidence

There are many examples throughout the rest of my adult life where I have made a bet on a sporting event, or when I have gone to a casino. I always, without exception, lose. It doesn't matter the odds, or on who I bet. I lose. God doesn't allow me to win bets. It's my only conclusion

And now, I have foolishly put myself in a position to have to pay 20 bucks to watch Auburn win a game, that I want desperately for them to lose.

So Bama fans, if you find yourself like me during that game, and rooting passionately for the Bulldogs, and at the end are disappointed to see Auburn win yet another game they should have lost...well, I'll take the blame for that.

And Aubies, you're welcome. Now go out and get your asses kicked, please

Monday, August 15, 2011

SEC Expansion: Believe It When You See It

Hey everyone, Texas A&M is going to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC!!!

That has been the talk for the last week. It's clear that A&M has had enough of being the Texas Longhorns' little brother, and would love nothing more than to just get away from them. And what better way to thumb your nose at the pompous cattlemen than to join the premier conference in the entire US of A?

I was personally looking forward to the Aggie fans chanting "SEC SEC SEC!" during the Texas A&M-Texas game this fall.

That still could happen, but for now A&M has been told to hold their horses, so to speak.

Today, the SEC presidents held a meeting in which they voted to table the idea of expansion for now, despite all the reports from all these people out there who think they know what they are talking about. Even ESPN reported that A&M to the SEC was a done deal.

But us Alabama and Auburn fans know quite alot about reporters and media outlets jumping the gun and reporting bullshit about us. Cam Newton, Dre Kirkpatrick, Trent Richardson, Michael Dyer, Greg Robinson, Nico Johnson, Mark Ingram, and Reese Dusmukes (Just to name a few) would ALL agree with me on that.

That statement, and the fact that I included Cam in it, does NOT mean that I think AU is innocent in it's recruitment of Cam, or in any of their other recruiting efforts. Nor do I think Bama is entirely clean either. But like the SEC with Texas A&M, I am tabling THAT conversation for a later date when and if it becomes relevant again.

Over the last several days, I've had many of my friends ask for my input on the possible expansion of the SEC. After the report that A&M was DEFINITELY joining the SEC, there were reports that the SEC was also possibly going to add Florida St, Clemson, and Missouri. I withheld writing about it, even though you might think it would be a salacious topic for me to delve into. Because I KNEW it was premature.

My response to my friends who asked for my input was that I was taking the wait and see approach, and I was correct to do so. I could've fired off an excited or worried post on Friday. I could've done like most and just taken for granted that this was all set in stone.

But I did what I think most of us should do when alot of these stories come out. Wait. And. See. It's very easy, and tempting, to want to be one of the first to report something, or write about something. But sometimes, it's best to wait, and not look like an idiot

As far as A&M goes, I'm not really afraid of them. I see them as ZERO threat to Alabama. For the record, they are 53-72 all time against the current six teams in the SEC West. But honestly, I think the SEC is tough enough as it is, and we don't need to add to the level of competition. We don't have to justify ourselves to anyone. We have won the last five National Championships. The last FIVE. And it is probably about to be six this year, with that defense in Tuscaloosa.

We are the SEC and we don't need anymore second tier land grant schools. We already have Auburn

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dear NFL: Welcome To The Julio Jones


If you were my Facebook friend during the last couple of college football seasons, you no doubt saw that status update from me a few dozen times. Usually when the aforementioned, better known as Julio Jones, would make a big play or score a touchdown for Bama.

And if you don't know by now, yes, that IS his actual real name. Quintorris.

Julio is my favorite offensive player to ever play for Bama. Rolando McClain is my favorite on defense. Julio was one of the most popular players to ever wear Crimson, even being voted Student Body President in a write-in campaign as a freshman. Of course, he turned down those duties because he was too busy playing football, but it just goes to show how well thought of he was around campus as well as by us fans who aren't students.

Tonight was Julio's debut as a rookie wide receiver in the NFL. And what an outstanding debut it was. The first two plays of the game were passes to him. In both cases, Julio had outrun or made a move on the corner and was behind the defense. Both times the ball was thrown off the mark. But as was the case many times at Bama, Falcons QB Matt Ryan found the best way to get Julio involved was to throw him a simple 5 yard pass, a dig route that shouldn't amount to more than 5 or 10 yards. Of course Julio put his foot in the grass, turned up field, and with more speed than anyone ever saw him display at Bama, was up the field for 20 yards before he could be tackled. He then caught another pass down the middle, where he had made the DB's look silly and was wide open for another 20 yards. On the next play, he took an end around handoff and rushed for 12 yards, and another first down. That was the end of the game for him, but even short lived, it was impressive.

One of the game's announcers, Charles Davis, said that tomorrow all the talk in Atlanta will be that Julio Jones is going to be in the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Indeed, it was hard not to agree that he was right away one of the best players on the team. Earlier this past week, just from watching him in practice, Peter King of Sports Illustrated said that Julio already looked like the Falcons best player. Sure fire Hall Of Famer, Tony Gonzales, said after the first practice that Julio is the best incoming receiver he has ever seen. He said that it's not even close.

Bama fans like me are about to really enjoy watching Julio make an instant and incredible impact on one of the already best teams in the NFL. It's not like he's going to be playing for a team where he will be the central focus of the opposing defense. The Falcons already have a Pro Bowl receiver in Roddy White. What in the hell are defenses going to do about this? They really won't be able to double cover either guy, cause it will leave the other in man to man. Which will be a dream for either White or Jones. My guess is that at first, teams will still focus on White, who is the proven star, and Julio will get plenty of one on one opportunities to shine. And when that happens, he is going to make defenses pay

On top of being really great with the ball in his hands, Julio is one of the best team guys I have ever seen. He and Mark Ingram were best friends while they were at Bama, and Julio made it seem at times like he enjoyed making a block and helping Mark score more than he enjoyed catching the ball or scoring his own touchdown. Julio is an all around exception to what you mostly see in top flight wideouts these days. Guys like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Ochocino, who are all about themselves and think they should get the ball on every play. Julio is more like Larry Fitzgerald to me. Either way, I feel comfortable saying that we are going to have a great time watching him on Sundays for the next 15 years.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Love Joe Paterno

"Joe Paterno needs to get his old ass off the sidelines"

I tweeted that and got booed by a fellow Bama fan and called a hater. Friend, you couldn't be more wrong. I wasn't saying that JoPa needs to hang it up and quit. In fact, I feel the opposite. The man is 84 years old. He has coached at Penn State for 46 years, and if he can be around to coach 20 more, then he's earned the right.

What my tweet was in reference to, of course, was the Sunday practice in which wide receiver Devon Smith ran into Paterno on the sidelines, causing injuries to Joe's shoulder, hip, and pelvis.

This is only the fourth or fifth time in the last 5 years that Paterno has been injured on the sidelines when players have run into him.

The man should really be in the press box. He is too old and too important to be running around risking injury like that

But you know what? He wouldn't be Joe Freaking Paterno if it were any other way. Who doesn't believe that this man will be 90 years old, still running down the sidelines, patting players on the back and yelling his raspy old Joe Pesci voice at unfortunate linebackers who miss tackles at "Linebacker U"

Who doesn't love the fact that Paterno walks 6 miles every day?

How can you not love a tough old bastard who could suffer such injuries as he did on Sunday, and yet he refused to get medical attention...until practice was over!!

And as soon as he was released from the hospital, all he wanted to talk about was how he felt about his team, and focusing on the upcoming season

Alot of you may not realize, but this is the stuff that legends are made of. This reeks of all kinds of "They don't make 'em like that anymore". Because you know what? They don't.

As to the question of when and if Joe Paterno will ever retire? He was interviewed in the late 80's and said then that he had at least another 5 years in him. But since then, he has referenced Paul Bear Bryant, and the fact that Bryant retired from football and died a month or so later. He is afraid that the same will happen to him.

Bryant said once that if he ever retired from football, he would die shortly thereafter. He was correct, but I think JoePa will do him one better.

Joe Paterno will die on the sidelines, before he ever retires. And we will all have lost one of the greatest men in the history of College Football when that day comes

Friday, August 5, 2011

Two Commitments For The Tide

Happy Black Friday, Y'all!!!!

Ok, so I borrowed that from a friend's twitter account, but after losing all everything QB Jameis Winston to Florida State this week, it was great to get a commitment from one of the best players in the class of 2012

Chris Black is a 5'11", 175 lb wideout from Jacksonville, FL. He also had offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Miami, and others

He lacks ideal height, but he is an extremely fast, shifty guy, who is quick off the line, great at making people miss, and could also contribute in the return game

His high school coach, Marty Lee, had this to say about him:

"Chris is a hard worker, and not only is he a great athlete, he's a great leader. He's very humble. He has not let this whole process go to his head. He's a great football player, but he's a better person"

Chris himself, said that playing for Nick Saban will be a dream come true.

He sounds like a great kid, and I look forward to seeing him in Crimson

Black wasn't the only player to announce on Friday that they would be taking their talents to Tuscaloosa. With the aforementioned loss of Jameis Winston, and the fact that we have already lost Gunner Kiel to freaking Indiana, we were left with having to go in another direction for our QB in this class

Alec Morris is a 6'4" 235 lb QB from the state of Texas that had already been committed to Wake Forest. Alec has extremely great size and looks good on tape, so I think we have a very good prospect in him.

Of course, some fans are still very disappointed that we lost out on Winston and Kiel. That was a total failure, not getting either one of those guys. One guy even said to me that it feels like we lost out on Tim Tebow and picked up Greg McElroy again.

About that. Greg McElroy, of course, was not the best QB in the world. He didn't have the strongest arm ever. But he was an extremely hard worker, a smart guy, that everyone could rally around. And all he did was win the National Championship

I'll take that kinda guy again in a heartbeat. And I'll hope that Jameis Winston just goes ahead and enters the MLB next summer instead of playing football. That'll make it feel a little better

Oh, and Alec had this to say, when asked about being compared to Greg, who was from the same part of Texas: "I'm honored to be compared to him, but as of now, I've done nothing, so I'm not sure I deserve that comparison"

Gotta love that attitude

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Instant Impact: Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams is a 6'5" 340 pound defensive lineman that comes to Alabama from Arizona Western College. He only has two years of eligibility left, but the last time Saban brought in similar prospect, Terrance Cody, it worked out pretty well.

Jesse was rated as the number 2 JUCO prospect in the nation by rivals.com

Jesse is originally from Brisbane, Australia where he is a bit of a folk hero. A camera crew from Australia even came to Tuscaloosa this summer to film a report on him playing American football. He stands out in a crowd with his mohawk and dozens of tattoos

He is similar in size to Cody, but clearly has more agility and quickness, and is already assumed to be the immediate backup to both Josh Chapman at tackle and Ed Stinson at end. Don't be surprised to see this kid come in and make a similar impact to Cody, who was an instant All American and is now becoming a really good player in the NFL

Instant Impact: Trey DePriest

This week I will be starting a series called Instant Impact, where I write about players who I believe will play immediately this year. True Freshmen, Redshirt Freshmen, and JUCO players, as well as transfers. I will start with Bama's players, but I will also talk about who I think will be the next young stars around the SEC later on

First off this week, is one of my favorite incoming players at Alabama, Trey DePriest.

Trey is a 6'2" 230 lb true freshman inside linebacker from Columbus, OH. Many had him rated as the number one overall linebacker prospect in the nation coming out of high school in 2011. He enrolled early and got on the field right away, and played quite a bit in the spring game

Linebacker is certainly not a position that Alabama is lacking in NFL talent, and you wouldn't think that a freshman would be able to come in an do anything other than redshirt in his first year, but that is just how impressive DePriest is.

I saw him in person at the A-Day game and he looked more like a 3rd year starter than he did a kid who could've still been in high school.

After Hightower, Johnson, Upshaw, and Mosley, there will be plenty of time for the backups, including Jerrell Harris who still has yet to put it all together. If Harris doesn't become the player he should've already become, don't be surprised to see him fall behind the true frosh.

Trey DePriest has future All American and first round draft pick written all over him

Monday, August 1, 2011

Almost Time For Actual Football

With the start of fall practice this week at Alabama, we can finally put this long offseason behind us. Hopefully, we can now focus on the daily tidbits we will get from practices instead of the endless bickering and mud slinging that we have all seen far too much of. I've been as guilty of it is many, so I'm not on a high horse here.

The Alabama Roster has seen many changes since spring practice concluded. Four players are no longer a part of the program

Sophomore Defensive Lineman Brandon Moore was suspended one week into fall camp, and enrolled in the summer at East Mississippi Community College. However, some have said they expect Moore to return to UA in the fall or winter.

Upcoming Senior Safety Robby Green, who was suspended for the entire 2010 season, has announced that he will not play his last season in Tuscaloosa. He will be suiting up for California University Of Pennsylvania in Division II

Wide Receiver Keiwone Malone, the first commitment in the 2010 class, is transferring to his hometown of Memphis to play for the Tigers

And Defensive Lineman Darrington Sentimore, who was expected to receive significant playing time in 2011, was  suspended in June for the ever vague "violation of team rules". There is no official word on his status at the moment, but his name was not on the roster that Alabama included in it's Media Guide released July 20.

Also, Defensive Lineman Kerry Murphy was held out of spring practice for an unspecified medical issue and his status is up in the air as well.

The month of August will be an interesting one for us, as we will finally start to see how the team is progressing and we can learn from various reports which incoming freshman and previously unknown players are pressing for playing time. One of my favorite things about college football is that every year, every team has at least one guy who becomes a really good player, who hadn't done much before. So I always look forward to those types of stories

Heading into the season, there are obvious issues to face and questions that will be answered as far as our team is concerned.

First on most of our minds is the QB position. Between AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims, will one of these guys separate themselves and be THE guy from the beginning of the Kent St game? Or will they both see rotating time for a game or two? Or MORE? Hopefully not. I am of the opinion that we need to have one guy be our leader.

There are injuries and suspensions to keep an eye on. Wide Receiver Darius Hanks will have to sit out the first two games of the season, per NCAA rules, in order to be eligible for the remainder of the season. He is a very important player, as he and Marquis Maze are returning leaders at that position that is now without the one and only Quintorris Lopez Jones, AKA Julio. Will we see one of the many highly touted youngsters step up? Guys like Kenny Bell, DeAndrew White, Mike Bowman, or Kevin Norwood. Or will longtime backup Brandon Gibson finally get some much deserved love?

True Freshman Running Back Dee Hart was expected to make a HUGE impact. Some had already said that Eddie Lacy's 2nd string job could be in jeopardy. I was in attendance at the A-Day game, and I was extremely impressed with Dee. He looked very much like Trent Richardson on a few plays. And this was a kid who should've been in the final months of his senior year in high school at the time.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait until 2012 to see what we might have in Dee Hart, as he tore his ACL in a 7 on 7 drill a month ago.

Running Back Eddie Lacy tore a pectoral muscle last week, and according to reports he should be fine by the start of the season. But everyone is different, and it remains to be seen whether it will affect him for the first several games. It is completely within reason that we could be without our top backup RB for the Penn St game on Sept 10. A game that will also be our new QB's first big game on the road, without Julio Jones as a security blanket. It is a bit of a concern.

Luckily, it appears that our defense could be the best in the country, and as the old saying holds true, they can't beat us if they can't score. And I expect this defense to allow less than 10 points a game this year.

The fall will also bring the arrival of a couple of highly talked about recruits. One, a true freshman in Brent Calloway. The other, a JUCO Wide Receiver who is the son of an NFL Hall of Famer, and who already played one season at a top program in Ohio State, Duron Carter. I have high hopes for Duron and I am very interested to see, with our sudden lack of Running Back depth, if Calloway will get a shot at that position this year, or if he will redshirt and learn to play LB. I believe he will do the latter

Either way, Tide fans...we have much to look forward to this year. Thank God it is finally almost here.