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 (11:58 AM)
Welcome to another hour-long chat about all things Alabama football. We'll start in two minutes.
Steve (Texas )
Would nick saban leave being the football coach to become the AD of bama like Barry Alvarez
Alex Scarborough (12:02 PM)
Not anytime soon, however, he did leave the door open to it in the future. He was asked yesterday if he had any ambition to become an athletic director one day and he did not say no. He wouldn't be both the coach and AD, but he did add that he wouldn't be happy not doing anything, meaning retirement isn't quite something he's looking forward to. Bill Battle is only two years younger than Moore (73), so if the timing is right and a few years down the road Saban decides to hang up his coaching cap, the AD job might very well be open.
Steve (Texas )
Progress on the early enrollees so far in first week if spring camp
Alex Scarborough (12:06 PM)
Progress is good, thus far. Players have had very good things to say about RB Derrick Henry. LB C.J. Mosley said Henry did very well during the Fourth Quarter off-season conditioning program and looks like a clone of former UA great Trent Richardson -- only taller. The other early enrollee that's caught my eye is O.J. Howard. Physically, he's very impressive. He's an athletic TE/H with better size than I expected. It's too early to judge the quarterbacks, but so far I've liked what I've seen from the two least heralded newcomers: Parker McLeod and Luke Del Rio.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be the Starting Defense in College Football for Alabama in 2013?
Alex Scarborough (12:09 PM)
Too early to go beyond the one-deep, and even that is a guessing game with so many combinations to be had in the secondary and linebacking corps. Here's my starting lineup prediction: DE Ed Stinson, NG Brandon Ivory, DE Jeoffrey Pagan, OLB Denzel Devall OR Xzavier Dickson (trying his hand at DE currently), LB Trey DePriest, LB C.J. Mosley, OLB Adrian Hubbard, CB Deion Belue, S HaHa Clinton-Dix, S Landon Collins, CB Geno Smith.
Who else is gimpy among black jerseys...saw D. White limping in one video yesterday? Fowler's condition?
Alex Scarborough (12:12 PM)
DeAndrew White, Dee Hart, Jalston Fowler, C.J. Mosley Kevin Norwood and John Fulton have all been wearing no-contact jerseys. Norwood and Fulton aren't expected to compete this spring (turf toe). Fowler looks to be coming along well. His cuts have been sharp and he hasn't put on any noticeable weight, which I was interested to see. C.J. Mosley was the one surprise but his shoulder problem is minor and he could end up participating fully soon.
Hear any feedback on initial contact periods yet? o-line vs d-line?Newcomers? Henry; Howard; Falkins?
Alex Scarborough (12:14 PM)
Can't say much more than I already have on the early enrollees. There's been very positive talk of Jai Miller in the secondary and Raheem Falkins at reciever. Falkins has been the most impressive newcomer to me. He's long (6-4) and quick for this size. He looks just like Marvin Shinn, but does a better job creating separation. I think he could surprise some people. Outside of them, S Landon Collins has garnered some praise, as has OL Brandon Greene.
I read where Arie and Cyrus could be playing the left side this fall. Any truth to that? If figured Steen would move over.
Alex Scarborough (12:16 PM)
I wrote about that last night. You can find the story on TideNationESPN.com now. ... Anyways, yes, it appears the Kouandjio brothers are playing alongside each other for now. Arie has been running with the first team and Steen has stayed on the right side of the line. I think if they're comfortable with whoever the LG is, they'll keep Steen there. If not, we might see him move around a bit.
How will the absence of Moore affect the future of Alabama sports - football in particular?
Alex Scarborough (12:17 PM)
That question was largely answered today when Alabama announced its intention to hire former Tide football player and Tennessee head coach Bill Battle. Judging by his resume, he's a guy that will continue what Moore built. He's very knowledgeable of the game and he has a strong business background. And with Saban at the helm, I don't think there's any reason to expect a dropoff on the football side of things either.
Is there any chance that saban could change the offense more to spread with all the depth and talent at wide reciever?
Alex Scarborough (12:20 PM)
Will it ever be a true spread? No, I don't think so. The way Alabama recruits offensive linemen and running backs in numbers, there's no way Saban would ever abandon that. Will he use what he has to his advantage and go three- and four-wide more often this year? Probably. He has the quarterback and the receiving targets to do it, and Saban isn't afraid to exploit a defense's weakness. However, I'll share this anecdote with you: I was at practice the other day and overheard a staffer speaking to someone. He said how even when Jim McElwain left and Doug Nussmeier took over, nothing changed on offense. Not the scheme and not the terminology. It's Saban's offense and it's not going to change anytime soon.
How many more departures should we expect before this summer as the roster is reduced to 85 with the incoming class?
Alex Scarborough (12:21 PM)
As a matter of fact, expect three today: Jonathan Athchinson, Chris Bonds and William Ming. That news should become official soon. Coupled with Danny Woodson's suspension, Marvin Shinn's absence and the four players being kicked out of school, that puts Alabama at 86. One more departure will come at some point before fall to get that number to 85.
What do you think about this Wisconsin matchup? People can't complain about Bama's strength of schedule nor the Badgers.
Alex Scarborough (12:23 PM)
As a fan of the game, I love it. In a league where coaches are constantly chastised for weak scheduling, Saban has stepped up to the plate. You have to give him credit for the high-profile season openers he's agreed to. Wisconsin is just the latest example of that. It's going to be a great game with two old-school, smash mouth football teams going at one another. It may not be high-scoring, but for the football enthusiast it will be fun. I only wish we didn't have to wait until 2015 to see it.
Where does Vinnie Sunseri fit in with the 2013 defense? Back to the money position, considering Landon at SS and Vinnie's own struggles at the Star last year?
Alex Scarborough (12:25 PM)
Most likely as a utility defender, sometime in the star and sometime at safety. He's best in space and against the run, but has troubles defending the pass. If Bradley Sylve or another cornerback steps up, they could see themselves getting a shot at the star position as Geno Smith did last year. Whatever happens, it's safe to say this is a make-or-break year for Sunseri who shined as a freshman but took a step back last year.
Jon Cook (Bama)
Does it appear OJ Howard will be able to make the transition and see substantial playing time as a true freshman?
Alex Scarborough (12:28 PM)
I believe so. He may not be a starter right away, but his skill set is too valuable to leave on the bench. He's the most athletic option Alabama has at tight end or H-back and could be of use in third down situations. And based off what we've seen in practice, he appears to be physically ready to compete in the SEC.
Realistically,if McCarron is injured,can UA beat A & M or LSU w/the backup QBs on the roster?
Alex Scarborough (12:33 PM)
Not against those two teams. They might be able to split two games, but without their starting quarterback, I don't see the Tide winning both games. At this point neither Sims or Ely can carry the team and the other backups are far too inexperienced to handle those environments.
Ann Goodwin (McCalla, Al)
Who will be AJ's backup? Where did Sims go?
Alex Scarborough (12:41 PM)
Last year Phillip Ely and Blake Sims were his backups, but I believe redshirt freshman Alec Morris has a chance to ascend to the No. 2 spot. If you're asking about where Phillip Sims went, he transferred to Virginia after the spring last year.
Any update on Robert Foster being eligible to play next year? I heard he may need to get his grades up to become eligible.
Alex Scarborough (12:42 PM)
Last we've heard (about a month ago) we were told his grades were in order an he should be eligible to play.
Who of this years signing class that's not currently enrolled are you looking forward to seeing out there? Any you think will be seen on the field?
Alex Scarborough (12:44 PM)
There are a couple. First on offense: I want to see RB Altee Tenpenny, who looks like a clone of Trent Richardson in build and running style, and RB Alvin Kamara, who could be an option on third-down, a Dee Hart-type scat back. On defense: I think both Jonathan Allen, DE/LB, and Darius Paige, DL, could make an impact as Alabama needs help on the line and rushing the passer.
What are your thoughts on X. Dixson at DE? Do you see this change sticking?
Alex Scarborough (12:47 PM)
We could see it being a hybrid role where he plays both DE and Jack LB. He's split his time there during the spring and has the build to play both positions. With Alabama in search of a better pass rush, Dickson playing DE could give DC Kirby Smart more options and rushing combinations. I like Dickson's raw skills, but he's lacked consistency. He's got a high motor which I like, but he's got some developing to do.
Any players having that head turning where did he come from spring practice?
Alex Scarborough (12:52 PM)
The most impressive guy I've seen is early enrollee Raheem Falkins, who has the ideal length and quickness to do well at receiver. As the tallest wideout on the roster, he's got a chance to create a niche for himself. The other guy I'm interested in watching is Landon Collins, who looks to have put in a lot of work getting stronger during the offseason. He's got all the tools, now he just needs to master the playbook.
BAMABABE (marietta, ga)
who would be the backup at center if kelly ends up with the job?
Alex Scarborough (12:57 PM)
Like Barrett Jones last season, Anthony Steen could find himself as the five-tool lineman filling in at center in case of emergency. He might be pressed into service because there's no other true center on the roster now.
BAMABABE (marietta, ga)
kenny bell tweeted something about dee not wanting to play anymore, never heard anything else after that...anything give u the idea he doesnt wanna be at bama anymore?