We’re continuing our excerpt mini-series in which we’re sharing content lifted directly from our 2013 Alabama Viewing Guide. We hope you’ll enjoy and consider downloading a copy of the full guide for yourself.
Go here for more information about the guide itself.
Today’s sample is pulled from our list of 10 watch items. Everyone has watch items and we’ve been reading them all summer. If you’re like me, you realized after a couple rundown articles that it’s all variations on the same themes.
So we tried to look a little deeper. What are the topics or player trends that will define the personality and success of the team which are not getting any headlines. For example, today we question the anticipated (and expected) starting rotation at the Left Guard spot.
Over/Under, how many player start at Left Guard
This season we’re faced with a rebuild project along our offensive front with the departure of three current NFLers. I think most will generally agree that Ryan Kelly will step in for Barrett Jones and Austin Sheppard has the lead as Fluker’s replacement. Spring camp ended with puff pieces on Arie manning the LG spot next to his brother Cyrus at LT. The story line was either too easy or too irresistible to pass up.
The question I have isn’t about Arie’s ability but rather his capability. He has endured multiple knee injuries and members of our staff were at one point quietly questioning his ability to return to form. Make no mistake, I am rooting for him to succeed, but it’s not unfair to wonder if he reaches a point where he’s simply unable to continue.
Assuming he holds onto the starting spot, look for Arie to be the first OL to sub out when the game is decided. This will serve to rest his battered knees while also providing an opportunity to groom his potential replacement. A number of players will compete for this role, but I’ll go dark horse and look for Brandon Hill or maybe even a Grant Hill to emerge as the 3rd guard if not the 6th lineman.
That’s probably not a take you’ll read many places, at least not until after the need for a position change has taken place.
Again, we hope that piqued your interest and encourage you to download a full copy for yourself today. My personal thanks to those who have done so already.
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