By Brett Hudson
No more lengthy countdowns. There are no more days left until kickoff and no more Saturdays to fight through without college football. The season has come, and along with it, Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s crusade to eliminate all other concerns but those in between the lines.
“It’s going to show you if you’re going to be the real deal, if you’re going to be for real, or are you going to be a guy who can’t do his job on a consistent basis, a guy who the other team looks at and says, ‘Hey, we can take advantage of that guy,'” Saban said. “There are no external factors that matter to anyone on this team. It’s not about what we did last year, it’s not about the girlfriends, it’s not about anything but playing this game, playing your A-game.”
Especially against a coach like Frank Beamer, who Saban credits as on the fine examples for the game of college football.
“Any time we’ve had an issue or a problem or whatever, he’s always there for you,” Saban said. “He’s one of the first guys to send something to Nick’s Kids when we had the tornadoes here a few years ago. He’s the kind of guy you’d like to try to emulate in terms of the class person and class program they’ve had there.
“He represents our game with a lot of class and integrity.”
McCarron on the loose?
Not many armchair quarterbacks will mistake Alabama’s AJ McCarron for a dual-threat quarterback like Johnny Manziel or Blake Sims.
He does not worry about improving his foot speed to make himself a dual-threat quarterback at all; besides, he already has another half as Alabama’s holder.
“That’s what he asked me to do and I’m going to do it,” McCarron said. “I’m not bigger than anybody else. I can hold so I’m going to hold. If he needs me to hold, the kickers need me to hold, I’ll hold.”
The possibility of running a fake field goal admittedly enters his mind, but he refuses to focus on it.
“That’s coach’s call,” McCarron said. “That way if it goes wrong just point to them. I’ll come up with some ideas. I always like cracking jokes and tell them to put in a new one so I can run it or something.”
One after the other
With Monday’s depth chart release (click here to see it), Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon found out who would be giving him relief: and he likes what he sees.
“They are really great running backs,” Yeldon said. “They are still picking up on the little things like the blocking and reading the gaps, but they should be ready for the first game.”
Even all the way back to the third team, where Dee Hart looks to make a comeback from yet another knee injury.
“He just has a different mindset than most guys to be so small. He brings it every practice,” Yeldon said. “He is one of the hardest-hitting guys when it comes to blocking, and he gives it 100 percent.”
Yeldon’s backup, Jalston Fowler, is a particularly interesting case, as he will both lineup at running back and H-Back, where he fluctuate between a tight end set and a fullback.
Yeldon’s favorite part? Fowler as a lead blocker.
“I’d rather have him in front of me blocking,” Yeldon said, cracking a smile.