Immediately after last week’s West Virginia game, my thoughts turned to what I’d like to see in the Florida Atlantic contest. The first two thoughts that came to mind were pretty obvious. I’d like to see the defense play better – especially the linebackers and corners, and I’d like to see continued good play out of the quarterback position.
Barring some sort of earth-shattering type of event, I think we’ll see some improvement from the D. We actually saw improved play along the defensive line in the second half of the first game and we should see an improvement in the linebackers with the return of Trey DePriest from suspension. It remains to be seen, however, if our cornerback play will. Reports out this week indicate Eddie Jackson will return from his knee injury and start. I think that’s a good sign, but it’s always hard to count on a guy returning from that sort of injury until you see it happen.
While defensive improvements are likely given the players returning and the nature of the opponent, the same improvement isn’t a given for the quarterbacking job. I shared some thoughts on the quarterback position in a post yesterday. It would be a shock if both Blake Sims and Jake Coker don’t play, the real question is how the playing time is split. My guess is that Sims will get a little more than half. But with new quarterbacks, you don’t always get smooth and consistent play. It’s not a given that Sims will play as efficiently as he did last week and it’s not a given that Coker will even play well. You’d like to think that the continued competition will have an overall positive effect on the offense, but again, it’s not quite the given that defensive improvements are.
Here are a couple of other things I’m looking for in today’s game:
* Will Kenyan Drake carry the ball more than he did against WVU or does he continue to get third team carries?
* Will we see an appearance of either Tony Brown or Marlon Humphrey in the defensive backfield?
* Will Alphonse Taylor hold onto the starting right guard spot, or will he continue to split time with Leon Brown?
* Will we see more of A’Shawn Robinson on the inside or outside of the defensive line?
* Will the second game under offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin yield anything similar to the 500+ yards and 80+ plus plays we saw in the opener?
* Will we see significant playing time for Da’Shawn Hand and Rashaan Evans?
* Will we see continued improvement in the pass rush?
That’s a lot of questions. We’ll have a few answers, Lord willing, in a couple of hours.
Enjoy the game and Roll Tide!