Alabama: Week 1
How much and in what way does Alabama’s situation change if Marcel Dareus is ruled ineligible?
Kenny Freeman: Marcel Dareus came on strong last year and had a great bowl game and he would be missed, but I think Alabama has some strong backup.
Shannon Ferguson: It will hurt Bama if Marcel Dareus can’t play because he would be the anchor of the defense. But I can assure you his replacement will be up to the challenge and will play just as well.
Roger Hoggle: It is a big deal as far as game experience. We would miss him anchoring the line in the middle much like Cody did last year.
Who is the newcomer you are most excited about seeing play and why?
Kenny Freeman: I don’t know if you would call him a newcomer or not, but Eddie Lacy really excites me even with Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson ahead of him.
Shannon Ferguson: This one was tough! Eddie Lacey has really gotten my attention. He rushed 15 times for 61 yards in the second scrimmage and is listed third on the depth chart behind Ingram and Richardson. Also DeMarcus Milliner continues to battle for a spot and is turning heads.
Roger Hoggle: Dre Kirkpatrick. He is an exceptional athlete and has deceiving size and length for a cornerback. He should be able to step in where Javier Arenas left off.
What are Mark Ingram’s chances at winning another Heisman?
Kenny Freeman: With Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy on the same team, I don’t think he will get enough touches this year.
Shannon Ferguson: There’s a very slim chance Ingram will win it again as bad as I hate to say it. The expectations are going to be to high. Plus, Ingram will have to be better than last season and stay injury free to have a decent shot at repeating. But I do believe he’ll finish in the top 5 vote getters.
Roger Hoggle: Slim. He not only has the target on his back from defenses, we will also look to get Trent Richardson more carries this year. So Ingram’s touches will decrease.
Who is Alabama’s greatest threat in the SEC West and why?
Kenny Freeman: Looking at who has the best returning roster I would think Arkansas, but never count Auburn out.
Shannon Ferguson: Arkansas is going to be the biggest threat for Alabama. The Razorbacks should be explosive on offense behind quarterback Ryan Mallet who threw for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. The Hogs also have nine returning offensive players. They are going to be a team that could derail Bama’s repeat for the SEC West Championship.
Roger Hoggle: Could be LSU, could be Arkansas or Auburn. All of these teams are going to be much improved from last year. Heisman candidate Ryan Mallet from Arkansas will put up big numbers, Jordan Jefferson will be more ready for LSU and Auburn has another great recruiting class to add depth to their defense as well as a QB in Cam Newton who could have a breakout year.
Do you feel Greg McElroy gets the respect he deserves as a quarterback?
Kenny Freeman: I don’t think so and I like it. He is a go-to-work-and-get-the-job-done kind of player as well as a team player without a lot of talk.
Shannon Ferguson: Greg doesn’t get enough respect in my opinion. He’s never lost a game as a starter and that says a lot in itself. So much of the talk last year was about Ingram and McClain. People need to remember he made some big throws in the season opener last season and played out of his mind in the SEC Championship game. But he is happy with himself and his teammates respect him and that’s all that matters!
Roger Hoggle: Obviously, you would think the QB of the defending National Champions who only threw four interceptions last year would get more recognition, but with Ingram winning the Heisman and our defense shutting people down, he is overlooked a little. I think that has been a good thing as he doesn’t feel pressured every week to play a perfect game, just stick to the game plan and minimize mistakes. I do feel about four weeks into the season, he will start getting more recognition as our offense should be more explosive than in years past.