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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

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.

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