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 (12:00 PM)
Welcome to another hour-long chat about all things Alabama football. Get your questions in early because things operate on a first come, first served basis around here.
Thanks Alex for all you do on tidenation im a big fan from texas...First question, If you had to guess from the choices i present to you which would you choose,,two 1000 yard rushers like it happened last year or two 1000 yard recievers for this because of the experiece coming back for this upcoming season..
Alex Scarborough (12:04 PM)
That's a tough one. I'd have to go with two 1,000-yard backs but even that's unlikely in my estimation. Yeldon and Lacy were the first ever at Alabama to do that, and that's with good reason. We'll probably see even more backs get carries in 2013, thus making it more difficult for two to get to the 1,000-yard mark. As far as two receivers racking up that many yards, I just don't see it happening. It's difficult enough for one guy to break 1,000 yards, and usually when that happens the next one in line hovers between 400 and 600 yards. And like with the tailbacks, there will be some many receivers vying for carries that it will be difficult to feature two receivers in such a way that they each break 1,000 yards.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who are the Running Backs for Alabama in 2013?
Alex Scarborough (12:07 PM)
You're looking at a few of them. T.J. Yeldon, of course, is the headliner. After becoming the first rookie in school history to break 1,000 yards, he'll become the No. 1 back. The backup back will likely be Kenyan Drake because of injuries to Jalston Fowler and Dee Hart, though both of them could play a role if they get back to 100 percent. The dark horse in all this is Derrick Henry, the No. 1 rated athlete in the 2013 class and Alabama's top-ranked signee. He's unusual for the position at 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds, but he's got a track record of success having set the national high school record for career rushing yards at Yulee High in Florida. That's all to say that there's nothing set in stone. We could very well end up surprised by three other freshmen backs: Tyren Jones, Altee Tenpenny and Alvin Kamara. If they were at other schools, we'd be talking about them fitting into the top three of the rotation. At Alabama, who knows?
Second Question, in earlier chat sessions from this year i believe you said you dont think alabama will win it again this year, so what would be their downfall for not winning the sec or national championship and which team do you think would be able to beat them
Alex Scarborough (12:11 PM)
If Alabama doesn't win it again, it likely won't be because of the skill players on offense. The Crimson Tide is stacked at RB and WR, and QB AJ McCarron is poised for a strong finale. That said, the offensive line is a huge question mark. Replacing three starters, no matter how talented the newcomers may be, is a monumental task for new OL coach Mario Cristobal. And on defense, there's legitimate concern over the secondary. Cornerback is thin and safety is inexperienced. If I'm looking at a challenger in the SEC, it's likely Florida. Will Muschamp is poised to break through soon.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be the Defensive Players for Alabama in 2013?
Alex Scarborough (12:14 PM)
If you're asking about the one-deep, here's my best guess based on a standard 3-4 defense: DE Ed Stinson, NG Darren Lake, DE Jeoffrey Pagan, OLB Xzavier Dickson, ILB C.J. Mosley, ILB Trey DePriest, OLB Adrian Hubbard, CB Deion Belue, S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, S Landon Collins, CB Geno Smith. But, as you know, Saban likes to rotate bodies. Expect to see these names a lot, too: Darren Lake, Denzel Devall, Reggie Ragland, Bradley Sylve, Nick Perry, Vinnie Sunseri.
How much of a threat does Va Tech pose? Gonna be more like Michigan last year or Va Tech in 09?
Alex Scarborough (12:16 PM)
Somewhere in between, I'd say. QB Logan Thomas is a big time talent, but he hasn't been able to put it all together at Va Tech. Without him playing the game of his life, I don't see how the Hokies hang on for four quarters. That said, Alabama will be breaking in three new offensive linemen, including a center, which makes for shaky footing. It will be interesting to see the line when we get closer to the opener.
Any word on how the early Enrollees are doing? Who is out front?
Alex Scarborough (12:18 PM)
By all accounts, the two headliners of the group -- RB Derrick Henry, TE/H O.J. Howard -- are doing well. We saw Howard at the new weight room last week and if we're talking about passing the eye test, he's got that going for him. For Henry, it will be a matter of seeing him in live action. With his size, it's too early to tell whether he can play RB in the SEC where he'll have to show more burst than we see on tape.
Do you think Dee Hart will be ready for the start of the season? If not, do you think that we'll see play at all during the season? Thanks
Alex Scarborough (12:19 PM)
When Saban gave us the names of two players who might be questionable for spring practice, Hart wasn't one of them. That's bodes well for his future. And if you're wondering who the two were, they're WR Kevin Norwood and CB John Fulton, who are both dealing with turf toe injuries.
some reports say anthony steen may be at left guard for this upcoming season, why doesnt bama just leave him at right guard and have experice atleast at both sides of the line instead of having experiece at left tackle/left guard and no experience on the right side.
Alex Scarborough (12:21 PM)
You saw how well the tandem of Chance Warmack and Cyrus Kouandjio worked last season, right? Well, that's why moving Steen in a possibility. When you can work two talented linemen together like they did last year, you can create a lot of running lanes.
Losing Michael Williams at TE seems like a big loss that doesn't get mentioned much. There doesn't seem to be anyone on the roster who can replace his run block abilities at that position. Thoughts?
Alex Scarborough (12:22 PM)
In terms of blocking, you're absolutely right. Williams might have been the best blocking TE in the country last year. But in terms of overall production on offense, his loss isn't very impactful. Alabama had its worst production at TE and H-back since 2007 last year. With O.J. Howard coming in and a few young guys getting an opportunity, I understand the sentiment that better things are to come from the position.
dave in tn (tn)
At end of year, Harrison Jones seemed to have injury prior to NC game. Not sure if he played at all against ND. If injured, do you have any prognosis...for Spring?
Alex Scarborough (12:23 PM)
There's no reason to believe he'll be held up this spring. But whether or not he develops into a starter is another question. I just don't see him beating out either Howard or Vogler for the starting nod. That said, I think he'll be a solid backup throughout the season, pitching in in multiple roles.
Who are some of the more important recruits for Alabama to land this year?
Alex Scarborough (12:24 PM)
Can't give names out this early, but there are a few positions I believe Alabama needs to get better at, starting off with defensive back. From there, I think you're looking at a few more linemen and one quarterback.
Who has a better chance at bringing another Heisman in, McCarron or Yeldon in 2013
Alex Scarborough (12:26 PM)
Tough call. I'd say McCarron seeing as he's a senior and will have built up a lot of credibility by that time. But don't count out Yeldon. He's a special back that I wouldn't bet against winning a Heisman by the time his career at UA is over.
dave in tn (tn)
Any sightings of Fowler running? If so, how does he look? Same for Hart?
Alex Scarborough (12:27 PM)
None yet. We'll see on March 16 when spring practice begins. Like I said earlier, though, Saban told us that all but Norwood and Fulton are ready to practice.
last question and thank you for all you do again,, AJ Mccarron throws 35 plus touchdowns and 3500 yrds passing and invited to new york am i far off or is that something that can happen with Nussmerier maybe having more input on the passing game this season..
Alex Scarborough (12:28 PM)
I don't think you're that far off, but that's the best case scenario for him. He may dip closer to the 3,000-yard mark and 30 touchdowns. That said, if he even hits 3,000 yards I think he earns an invite to New York.
dave in tn (tn)
Who are Hback candidates for Spring? Will Vogler spend most of his time at TE or rotate from Hback as he did last year?
Alex Scarborough (12:29 PM)
I suspect we'll see Vogler stay primarily at tight end and see more of Harrison Jones at H-back. Fowler is a strong possibility to play the position, as is early enrollee O.J. Howard.
dave in tn (tn)
Who do you think will step up as #2 QB?
Alex Scarborough (12:30 PM)
On the depth chart, I believe we'll see Alec Morris become the No. 2 quarterback. He'll have the redshirt off his back and in terms of talent, I think he's a cut about Sims and Ely. That said, if McCarron were to go down with a serious injury, I think we see an open competition that includes the freshmen.
How badly does losing Eddie Williams hurt? Assuming he was projected at safety, that seems like a relatively thin position right now...
Alex Scarborough (12:32 PM)
Minimally seeing as he didn't play at all last year. He was talented, yes, but playing safety for Saban takes much more than that. Otherwise, we might have seen a different rotation last season. With Landon Collins coming on I think Alabama will be fine at safety.
What type of role do you see Chris Black playing this season?
Alex Scarborough (12:33 PM)
Best case scenario for him is likely the starting slot receiver. And I can definitely see that happening. He'll have to beat out a few guys to get there but he has the talent to do it. If not, he'll be a part of a rotation that includes Christion Jones, Kenny Bell and DeAndrew White.
Will Alabama ever have a Dominate DE like Clowney, I understand he's a rare breed, but I would like to have a Solid DE as well as a pass rushing linebacker
Alex Scarborough (12:35 PM)
In all honesty, I don't think they will. Saban's system isn't set up for pass-rushers of Clowney's breed. Saban would rather have someone who is balanced in terms of defending the run as well, and keeping gap assignment is a must. While I'd point out that Marcel Dareus was no slouch, I don't think we'll see a monster edge rusher like Clowney produce at Alabama in the near future.
dave in tn (tn)
IMHO...Lake has potential, but must improve pad level and strength...aka he stands up and allows blockers to reach his body...Dismukes pancaked him at end of Iron bowl and in a few other appearances was pushed around as well. Be interesting to watch his progress in Spring.
Alex Scarborough (12:38 PM)
He's raw, there's no doubt about that. But remember with Lake that he was a kid that came out of nowhere from a tiny high school in Alabama. He didn't play against the best competition and frankly didn't receive the same type of coaching as you'd see from bigger programs like Hoover. He's got a ways to go, but when he gets there he'll be a good one. He's got size, quickness and strength, which is something you can't teach. The technique will come along with seasoning.
Any idea what Va Tech is returning on their Dline? (hopefully not much)
Alex Scarborough (12:41 PM)
They've got a few guys coming back, most notably defensive end James Gayle who was second team All-ACC last season.
Every year there is speculation about Kirby Smart taking another job. Any thoughts on what kind of head coaching opportunity he'd leave for?
Alex Scarborough (12:43 PM)
A good one. Just kidding. He's a guy that's going to take his time and wait for the right opportunity. So far that hasn't come. Auburn ended up not being the place, joining the list of many others. I do, however, think that this is likely the year he'd leave. It will be a head coaches job and it will be at a BCS-type school. He'd be wise, and he has been, to not leave for anything less.
Alex Scarborough (12:50 PM)
10 more minutes remaining so get your remaining questions in now.
dave in tn (tn)
May have missed this...was a medical redshirt approved for Fowler?
Alex Scarborough (12:54 PM)
There has been no official release, but seeing as he didn't play the rest of the season and competed in two games he should be eligible for the redshirt and retain two more years eligibility.
If Cyrus K. could enter the draft this year, would he be picked above Joeckel and Fisher?
Alex Scarborough (12:56 PM)
Good question. My guess is probably not, but he would be a first round pick. He plays a money position at LT and he has boatloads of talent. The only reason I'd say he wouldn't go above those two guys is because they're less raw because of their years in the game.
Kenny (Alabama )
Do you think there is any chance Derrick Henry will line up on the Defensive side of the ball for Bama.? or most likely a Running back? Heard some rumors Saban was considering Henry as a linebacker.
Alex Scarborough (12:57 PM)
He'll play running back this year at the very least. If he were to switch positions that would happen next spring. Like many freshmen, Saban allows them to play the position they want at first and if that doesn't work out then they begin to change plans. And there's no doubt Henry wants to play running back.
Kenny (Alabama )
What do you think McCarron's draft stock will be at the end of the year.??
Alex Scarborough (1:00 PM)
Likely a second round pick but if he does have a Heisman type of year he ends up going in the first round. He has the production, I think GMs and scouts just want to see more in terms of talent and consistency. It's hard to avoid the games he played against TAMU, LSU and UGA. He wasn't himself then.
Alex Scarborough (1:00 PM)
Well folks, that's all the time I've got today. Remember to come back at the same time and place next week for another hour-long chat about Alabama football. In the meantime, check out TideNationESPN.com for the latest Alabama news. Have a question for me? Jump on the forum there and fire away. You can follow me on Twitter at @AlexS_ESPN and you can find our Alabama recruiting expert Greg Ostendorf as well at @GregO_ESPN. Cheers!