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Alabama Panel: Penn State week

How long can Alabama keep the two-quarterback system going before it has to finally pick one guy?

Jimmy McCrory: I think the Penn State game will probably tell who will win the quarterback job. This road game with 100,000 fans in a hostile environment will tell a lot in who is ready for the position. With Bama heading into a seven-game SEC stretch, it will be important to have a starter named.

Jay Reynolds: I wouldn’t necessarily call it a two-quarterback system. This usually entails two quarterbacks playing on the same series. I think that both QBs could see playing time for several more games. Saban is confident in both QBs ability to win games. With the QBs being very similar in style of play it gives the coaching staff the ability to play both without having any synchronization issues. I would guess there will be a “clear starter” for the Arkansas game in week four (but we still may see the “backup” play some minutes).

Roger Hoggle: Probably after this week we will see a starter named. I think AJ with two years of being in the system and having played in most games last year will be named the starter by week 3.

Which Tide player surprised you the most in week one?

Jimmy McCrory: Eddie Lacey. He ran and caught the ball with a “I’m not gonna be denied” attitude. The tide needs the 1-2 punch of Richardson and Lacey to make a run at a championship.

Jay Reynolds: DeAndrew White was pleasant to watch. Not sure if it was a true surprise, but his athletic ability after catching the ball lived up to the expectation. I would say Vinnie Sunseri was the biggest surprise. His hustle and athletic ability was way more than I expected.

Roger Hoggle: I thought Mark Barron really stepped up last week. I wouldn’t say he surprised me, but he really came out and played aggressively, showing he is 100 percent.

After one huge week, Marquis Maze is looking like the go-to guy for Alabama’s passing game this season. How do you think he will do in that role?

Jimmy McCrory: Maze is a senior who has waited patiently to be the “go-to” guy. He has the speed and maturity to be very successful this year. His special teams play is also key for Bama’s success.

Jay Reynolds: I think Marquis will play that role well. He has been patiently waiting in Julio’s shadow and has lots of experience. He has wanted to be the go-to receiver for years and has and will continue to embrace that role. I also feel his experiences behind Julio will motivate him to help the younger receivers on the team. He flirted with the leaving early last year for the NFL, now he has the opportunity to promote himself and prove that he has the ability to make the next step.

Roger Hoggle: I think he will be a huge factor in the return game much like Javier was 2 years ago, giving us great field position. On offense, with so many weapons at receiver, and teams looking to contain the run, he will make some explosive plays down the field all season.

What kind of balance will the Nittany Lions need to topple Alabama this week?

Jimmy McCrory: Bama’s run defense is too strong for the Lions to be heavy on the run side. The Lions will have to attempt at least 30 pass plays. Bama will force them to pass the ball, then stop the run.

Jay Reynolds: Bama’s defensive front has not been tested this year against the run so it is hard to say. But if the speculations are true, Penn State will definitely need to mix it up a lot more, possibly even throw more than run.  Bama has a deep, talented and tested front 7, the secondary is also talented but possibly not as deep or tested as the front 7. I would expect Penn State to try the secondary more to keep the front 7 guessing.

Roger Hoggle: If they are going to have any success running the ball, they are going to have to hit some short routes on the outside to get our linebackers stretched a little thin in the middle. If our corners and defensive ends can contain those routes, then our linebackers can make it extremely tough for them to get any kind of running game going.

What is your prediction for the final score this week?

Jimmy McCrory: Bama 28, Penn State 17

Jay Reynolds: Alabama wins 27-13

Roger Hoggle: 31-10 Alabama