This week, Michael Casagrande of AL.com posted his top five position battles for this fall. They are, according to Cassagrande:
2. Middle Linebacker
3. Running Back
4. Right Guard
It’s hard to disagree with most of these, other than picking nits over the order. One I don’t agree with, in terms of including in the list is running back. Casagrande notes:
This is more of a first world problem. Alabama has more running backs than carries available at this point. Anytime you have a two-year starter with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (T.J. Yeldon) and he’s the afterthought, there’s something working with depth. This is not as much of a competition for the No. 1 job, but how the carries will be distributed.
Right. There is no competition here, so this really shouldn’t be on the list. (Though the carry breakdown is an interesting topic.)
Instead, I would have included the competition for the left tackle spot, the position manned last year by Cyrus Kouandjio. Leon Brown, Dominick Jackson or true freshman Cam Robinson could fill this spot, and how this job is filled will likely have a trickle-down effect on the right guard position.
In terms of order, I would have the battles listed this way:
1. Cornerback – Getting better cornerback play is crucial to a successful season.
2. Quarterback – It makes the list not only because it’s a high-profile job, but because it’s one of the most important on the team.
3. Left tackle – Don’t think this is an important position? Watch the replay of last year’s Sugar Bowl.
4. Right guard – Replacing veteran linemen Anthony Steen will be a tough job.
5. Middle linebacker – There is talent here, plus Trey DePriest will play alongside the new starter. There is concern here, but not as much as related to the offensive line.