So you think you know what to expect from Alabama when the Crimson Tide opens the 2013 season…
Depth Chart As Issued By Alabama
And so it has become something of a red letter day among sportswriters when the Monday before the opening game arrives and we are presented with something of a depth chart. That depth chart, however, is not distributed prior to Coach Nick Saban's appearance before the media. Just as well based on what he had to say about it Monday.
"If I were you," Saban said, "I wouldn't make too much of the depth chart we released. It's a chore for me to do that, it really is. I know it's important to you so we wanted to provide you with something. But don't ask me questions because I'm telling you now, it's for you. The depth chart isn't for our team. It's for you so you can have it, write about it, and talk about it.
"You made me do a depth chart when I didn't want to do one."
First of all, everyone who believes that the press corps made Saban do a depth chart and that he did it even though he didn't want to, raise your hand.
Nevertheless, our obligation to you, our readers, is to share this depth chart as issued Monday as Alabama prepares for its opening game. The Crimson Tide, the pre-season number one team in the nation, will take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in the season-opener at 5:30 p.m. EDT (4:30 central time) Saturday in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. ESPN will televise the game.
Even though the depth chart is downplayed by Saban, and certainly subject to change, sometimes it is interesting. Most times, though, it is almost exactly what anyone who has been paying close attention would suspect, at least as far as the first team players.
Although he didn't say it Monday, Saban usually has the admonition that the word "or" on the depth chart "means ‘or'." There are a few of those, and one might say a couple of them are mildly surprising. Kevin Norwood at flanker is listed with Kenny Bell on the first team. Xzavier Dickson, who spent much of fall camp with the defensive linemen, is listed first team at jack linebacker with Denzel Devall.
Trey DePriest, who was briefly suspended and said to be having to work his way back up the depth chart, seems to have done it. He is listed first at middle linebacker. Second is true freshman Reuben Foster.
Here is the depth as issued by Alabama football on Monday:
End – Ed Stinson
A'Shawn Robinson or LaMichael Fanning
Nose Tackle – Brandon Ivory
Darren Lake or Korren Kirven
End – Jeoffrey Pagan
Dalvin Tomlinson or Jonathan Allen
Strongside Linebacker – Adrian Hubbard
Middle Linebacker – Trey DePriest
Weakside Linebacker – C.J. Mosley
Tana Patrick or Reggie Ragland
Jack Linebacker – Xzavier Dickson or Denzel Devall
Cornerback – Deion Belue
Cornerback – John Fulton
Strong Safety – Vinnie Sunseri
Landon Collins or Jarrick Williams
Safety – HaHa Clinton-Dix
Left Tackle – Cyrus Kouandjio
Left Guard – Arie Kouandjio
Kellen Williams or Isaac Luatua
Center – Ryan Kelly
Right Guard – Anthony Steen
Right Tackle – Austin Shep;herd
Tight End – Brian Vogler
O.J. Howard or Brandon Greene
H-Back/Tight End – Jalston Fowler
Quarterback – A.J. McCarron
(There was no third quarterback listed)
Running Back – T.J. Yeldon
Dee Hart or Derrick Henry or Altee Tenpenny
Split End – Amari Cooper
Flanker – Kevin Norwood or Kenny Bell
Slot Receiver – Christion Jones
Placekicker/Kickoff – Cade Foster
Holder – AJ McCarron
Snapper – Cole Mazza
Punt Return – Christion Jones
Kickoff Return – Christion Jones