Chat with Alex Scarborough
Welcome to TideNation! On Thursday, reporter Alex Scarborough stops by to chat about the state of Alabama football.
Scarborough joined ESPN.com in 2012 after covering University of Alabama athletics and high school football for The Tuscaloosa News. He currently resides in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Send your questions now and join Scarborough Thursday at noon ET!
Alex Scarborough (12:01 PM)
Hope everyone out there is enjoying the afterglow of the national championship. There's obviously still plenty to talk about for the Alabama football program. With that said, let's jump right into today's action.
Hey Alex. Just wondering if you picture seeing Alabama in the National Championship Game next year.
Alex Scarborough (12:04 PM)
Great way to start off today's chat with this. Yes, I do see Alabama having enough of the pieces in place to challenge for another national championship. AJ McCarron and the passing game has a chance to be lethal and we all know now what T.J. Yeldon can do with the football in his hands. The defense has a chance get better and more athletic. The one big concern I have is the fact that Alabama will be replacing the offensive and defensive lines. That's the heart and soul of this team and it's almost impossible to replicate the kind of success Alabama had up front this past season. It's going to be a very interesting offseason to see who wins those position battles at NG, DE, LG, RT and C.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Even though you Cover Alabama College Football,What is your Favorite NFL Team?
Alex Scarborough (12:05 PM)
The Falcons. I was born in Savannah, Ga., and despite moving to Southern California at a very young age (thank you Air Force), I always followed my home state Flacons and Braves. Not the Hawks, though. The Lakers were my one concession to the West Coast.
mohammed jihad (Durkadurkastan)
How many bandwagon fans do you think Bama will acquire for the 2013 season?
Alex Scarborough (12:06 PM)
Not many more than it has in years past. I view Alabama like the Yankees. I think more people love to hate them than love to root for them. If this was their first title, that would be one thing, but it's not. After three in four years, the hatred for the Tide will only get that much stronger.
Brad (Vestavia Hills, AL)
On a scale of 1-5, if the 2012 offensive line was a 5, what would you give the '13 offensive line?
Alex Scarborough (12:08 PM)
Oh goodness, that's really difficult to say because outside of Ryan Kelly at center we don't know for sure who will be playing where. And with chemistry being so much a part of the equation it's impossible to project how good they'll be. Talent wise I'd give them a four. How they perform early on might be a three, though. It's going to take time.
What position will the older baseball player that just joined Alabama play?
Alex Scarborough (12:09 PM)
Seems to fit best at safety. He's got good size and having played the outfield will have good range of motion.
Any news on Barrett Jones' foot operation?
Alex Scarborough (12:10 PM)
Nothing new yet just that it will be performed in Charlotte. As he said on the broadcast, he tore a few ligaments and needs surgery. For his sake, I hope he can get back to 100 percent in time for workouts. He's going to have to show scouts and GMs what he can do one-on-one.
Give me your starting O-line for next year. Who takes over the CB job from Milliner? Thanks!
Alex Scarborough (12:14 PM)
Starting five: LT Cyrus Kouandjio, LG Arie Kouandjio OR Alphonse Taylor, C Ryan Kelly, RG Anthony Steen, RT Austin Shepherd. ... I used the copout of "OR" for LG because I have the suspicion that Taylor can make a move this offseason. He looks like a young Chance Warmack with this build and quickness. ... As far as CB, I look to Geno Smith breaking into the starting lineup. Coaches did more and more with him late in the season and he seems to have more upside than John Fulton.
John Townsend (Los Angeles)
Alex, who do you see replacing the guys leaving on Bama's Offensive line? Replacing Warmack, Jones and Fluker might be a little tough.
Alex Scarborough (12:16 PM)
As I said earlier, I think Kelly is a shoe-in for center. It will be either Arie Kouandjio or Alphonse Taylor's job at guard, I'm guessing. Right tackle is the biggest toss-up but I favor Austin Shepherd. Leon Brown and Brandon Hill could challenge but they need to learn the offense and the nuances of the position in a hurry.
You hear a lot of people talk about Texas A&M "exposing" Alabama. Sure the Aggies played a great game. But from where I sat, It looked like Bama played a terrible game, the Aggies played great and at the end, the Aggies won on the last series. What am I missing here?
Alex Scarborough (12:18 PM)
I think you're missing the fact that Texas A&M made Alabama play a terrible game. Johnny Manziel and the Aggies did that to a lot of teams last year, making them look worse than they really were. That said, Alabama is going to have to figure out how to stop dual-threat QBs better. It seemed like from the second quarter on it got better, but the breakdowns in the secondary were ugly. If there's a team Alabama doesn't want to face next season, it's TAMU.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
True or False, Nick Saban will pass Bear Bryant's title total and go down as the greatest coach in SEC history, if he remains in Tuscaloosa five more years?
Alex Scarborough (12:21 PM)
To be honest, I have no clue. My gut says there's no way because it's so difficult to dominate today's game, but the direction he's got the program headed I wouldn't be surprised if Alabama won another two or three titles in the next five years. They're that much on a roll.
Do you think Lacy will go early into the draft? And if he does, do you see this as a problem with a lack of experience and leadership at the running back position for next year, despite the overabundance of talent?
Alex Scarborough (12:24 PM)
I do see him forgoing his senior year. He's done too much in the final few games to not take advantage of the momentum. If he does go as expected, I don't see a lack of experience hurting Alabama at the position. T.J. Yeldon knows what he's doing and with a senior quarterback, I think it negates any worry about who the leader of the offense is. There's so much talent at running back on campus and coming in next season it's not even funny.
Alex, what are the chances Robert Nkemdiche comes to Bama?
Alex Scarborough (12:25 PM)
Slim. He narrowed his list to two schools this week and Alabama wasn't among them.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Any advice for Irish fans who now have to deal with rumors of their coach abandoning ship for the NFL?
Alex Scarborough (12:26 PM)
Ignore it. When you have your football program competing for national championships, hearing your coach up for other jobs is the price you pay. Just relax and wait for him to either bolt or sign the inevitable contract extension.
I live in Tennessee and this new championship has shown one thing... the SEC nation is equally tired of Alabama as the SEC haters. In my work place many fellow workers chose to rout for ND over Bama despite SEC homership. Do you get the same feeling that Bama is becoming the Yankees of the 90s?
Alex Scarborough (12:28 PM)
Most definitely. The country didn't like being dominated by the SEC and this conference's fans were OK with it because the wealth was being spread around. Now that it looks like Alabama is going to dominate everyone, even the most diehard fans aren't happy.
Any news on the Junior prospects leaving for the NFL?
Alex Scarborough (12:28 PM)
There should be a press conference today or tomorrow, from what I hear. Expect Fluker, Lacy and Milliner to all go pro.
Awesome question... how will Bama keep all of the RBs and WRs happy next year? With the addition of Foster our playmakers look awesome.
Alex Scarborough (12:31 PM)
Score a lot of points and win football games. Honestly, though, do you really expect Saban to ever do anything to make one group of players happy? That's not how he operates and every prospect that signs with Alabama knows that.
Will Bama close with any unexpected recuits at signing day?
Alex Scarborough (12:31 PM)
There's always one or two that come Alabama's way late, but with the class pretty tight as we speak, I don't see a lot of surprises.
When Jesse Williams went down in the UGa game, Bama had a hard time stopping the run. Who will rotate with Brandon Ivory at the NT?
Alex Scarborough (12:32 PM)
Look for rookie Darren Lake to get in on the rotation. He looks like a mirror image of Chapman from two seasons ago.
Cindy (Vicksburg, MS)
I was shocked to hear Coach Saban say in his Tuesday press conference that AJ could be the best QB in CFB next season. It was just very uncharacteristic of Saban to say, even though it is true. The question I have for you is, do you think the media will give him the chance? On the pre-BCS episode of "The Experts" Desmond Howard said, as a Heisman voter, he never had McCarron on even his list in 2012 - despite his QBR. Yet, Manziel wouldn't have gone to NYC, let alone won the Heisman if TAMU hadn't beaten the Tide. What does AJ have to do to win over the media jury. How can he not be respected after another set of rings?
Alex Scarborough (12:35 PM)
I don't think there will be the same sentiment around McCarron this coming season. His profile is growing for better or worse. He does, however, need to be known for more than his efficiency to win the Heisman. He still hasn't shown he can take over a football game. To be fair, he hasn't really had to, but remember his struggles against LSU and Texas A&M. Those memories linger in the minds of voters. He's done well in spots in his career. If he hopes to win the Heisman next season he must take his game to another level.
How is Landon Collins coming along?any surprises in store pertaining to the defensive side of the ball?
Alex Scarborough (12:37 PM)
I like what I've seen from Landon in practice and in limited action during games. The special teams tackle he made near the goal line was beautiful. It was about the best thing he could do heading into the offseason. I expect him to compete for more playing time next season and could wind up the starter. As far as other surprises, I don't know if there will be many. The one guy I want to see during camp is LaMichael Fanning. We've been waiting on the light to turn on for him and it hasn't yet. If and when it does, he could be a special player at DE.
Mike (Slidell, La)
What do you think are the chances that Alabama jumps to #1 in this years recruiting class?
Alex Scarborough (12:40 PM)
There's a chance, but seeing as Alabama recently fell from No. 2 to No. 3 with the loss of DeMarcus Walker, I'm not holding my breath. Either way, Alabama is crushing it on the recruiting trail. The updated ESPN 300 shows UA having the No. 1 athlete and No. 1 guard in the country. Throw in the No. 2 TE, the No. 3 QB and the No. 5 DT and I'd say they're sitting pretty heading into the home stretch.
Patrick (Foley, AL)
Who do you see stepping into Robert Lester's role? How about who all starts in the secondary?
Alex Scarborough (12:42 PM)
Landon Collins will have his say for who steps in at safety, but so will Nick Perry. I see the starting four going like this: CB Deion Belue, CB Geno Smith, S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, S Landon Collins. ... But as anyone who watches Alabama knows, Saban is rarely in a base formation and loves using multiple safety and cornerback combination depending on down and distance.
AJ (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Was Tuesday a slow news day in the sports world for people to make such a big deal out of the comments Brent Musburger made about my girlfriend? Am I the man though, right? :)
Alex Scarborough (12:43 PM)
Going to stay away from this one, folks. But AJ is doing pretty well for himself all the way around, I'd say.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Who do you think will be Bama's stiffest competition in the East now that Murray has announced his decision to return to Athens?
Alex Scarborough (12:44 PM)
Even after watching Louisville destroy them, I like the Gators. I am sold on what Muschamp is building there on defense and on the line of scrimmage. If he can get Driskel to take the next step they could be scary good. That said, Georgia and South Carolina will be very good next season. Jadeveon Clowney is my frontrunner for the Heisman.
I submit that if you have watched how the o-line under Saban moves around, next season we will likely see the more experienced player in Steen move to LG to take over for Warmack and it will be the RT spot up for grabs with Arie likely to be the best candidate at RG.
Alex Scarborough (12:46 PM)
Agreed. I've been throwing out the idea of putting Anthony Steen alongside Cyrus Kouandjio for a while now. It makes sense when you consider how much success Alabama had running the ball left this year. It stands to reason they try it again next season.
Quintar (Birmingham, AL)
While the offensive line is getting a lot of the attention. I am concerned about the Defensive line and our loses there. Have not had a dominant disruptive force there since Darius and just lost a high end recruit to Pruitt's move. Plus we will be losing Jesse at the nose along with other seniors. Who do we have to step up there and any recruits on the way that can make an impact?
Alex Scarborough (12:50 PM)
I see the defensive line as having the potential to be more athletic and more disruptive next season as guys like Jeoffrey Pagan and D.J. Pettway get more and more playing time. As far as recruits on the way, Jonathan Allen (a top-5 DE prospect) projects as a Jack linebacker but could add some weight and play with his hand on the ground. Undecideds Montravious Adams and Tim Williams would be a big boost to the class should they choose Alabama.
So do you see Brandon Ivory as the starting nose guard for next season? I haven't yet got the feeling like he is ready for that important of a position. -And who do you see as the backup at NG?
Alex Scarborough (12:50 PM)
Ivory starts and Lake is the No. 2, as I see it now.
Joe (South Florida)
Who is lined up for NG spot next year?Any Jr College guys that will make an impact?
Alex Scarborough (12:51 PM)
No JC guys on defense but Leon Brown, the No. 18 juco prospect according to ESPN, will have a say in who starts at RT.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think the hate has more to do with Saban, than Bama, and the SEC right now? He'll never live down his departure from Miami.
Alex Scarborough (12:52 PM)
Even if it wasn't Saban, the hate would be there. It comes with the territory when you're winning national championships. People hated Florida when they were on their run.
What are our positions of need in recruiting for the last five spots? (it is five, correct?)
Alex Scarborough (12:52 PM)
They may not fill all five spots by design. But the areas of need, as I see them, are DB and DL.
Jesse Marioneaux (Port Neches, TX)
Hey how deep do you think that Alabama will be next year do you think they will retain the core players from this year championship year.
Alex Scarborough (12:53 PM)
They'll have depth with the main guy on offense (McCarron) and defense (Mosley) both returning. Those are two solid building blocks even if Milliner, Lacy and Fluker leave.
It has seemed like Bama has had a lot of turnaround with recruiting from people committing and then decommitting ( I can think of 5 off the top of my head. Is it just me?
Alex Scarborough (12:54 PM)
It's not just you but this is what happens as kids commit earlier and earlier in the process and have time to sit around and dissect their decisions. Other schools come in and try to turn them and sometimes it works. Still, Alabama has a top-3 class so no need to worry.
How's the chances of Reuben Foster coming to Tuscaloosa?
Alex Scarborough (12:55 PM)
Slim. I think if he were coming to Alabama he would have given more indication already.
Going back to the playmaker question. Not that it really matters but how do you see the RB and WR depth chart playing out next year considering Lacy goes Pro?
Alex Scarborough (12:59 PM)
It will be Yeldon and Drake to start out at RB with Fowler and Hart playing depending on their health. Also, look for Fowler to try his hand at H-back. The new guys are a question mark but Henry is the most likely candidate to play, likely starting out at RB. At wide receiver, don't look for Foster to play right away. There's too much ahead of him. There will be a lot of mixing and matching at receiver with the main two guys being Norwood and Cooper. Jones and Black will battle it out at slot with White and Bell figuring into the rotation as well.
Alex Scarborough (1:00 PM)
Sorry to say but that's all the time we have to day. Very good stuff, as always. Come back next week at the same time or hop on over to TideNationESPN.com for all your Alabama news and try out the message board where you can reach me any time with your questions. Enjoy the rest of your week. Cheers!