Alabama releases two-deep depth chart for season opener
For weeks the Crimson Tide has practiced preparing for the 2012 season, and for weeks the speculation about the depth chart has grown. On Tuesday, that speculation finally ended when the school released the Tide’s depth chart for the 2012 season opener against Michigan.
Across the list there are not a ton of surprises. Junior college transfer Deion Belue secured a starting position as the boundary cornerback opposite of senior Dee Milliner. Belue fought with John Fulton for the position throughout much of spring practice and fall camp, but it is evident that he has displayed the necessary tools to win the support of the Crimson Tide coaching staff.
The Mike linebacker position is a place where Nico Johnson has some experience playing during his career in Tuscaloosa, but it was not Johnson that was at the top of the two-deep at that position. Instead, sophomore Trey DePriest is the starting Mike linebacker while Johnson is the starting Will linebacker.
Johnson is listed next to DePriest as another option at the Mike position, and C. J. Mosley is listed next to Johnson as another option at the Will linebacker spot.
Throughout much of fall practice it was speculated that Damion Square, Quinton Dial and Ed Stinson would be competing for time on the field at one or both of the defensive end positions. However, on the first two-deep of the season, senior Damion Square is the Tide’s starting defensive end on one side and junior Ed Stinson is the starter on the other end. Senior Quinton Dial is listed behind Square and sophomore Jeoffrey Pagan is the backup for Stinson.
Alabama’s defense will likely change a lot during the first few weeks of the season. The two-deep released only accounts for the Tide’s base defense, so when defensive coordinator Kirby Smart chooses to go with a dime or nickel package there will be a slightly different look to the players that see the field.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Tide revealed a few surprising decisions. The starting offensive line remains the same as it was during the spring, but the second unit is now a stronger, solidified group. Junior Kellen Williams is the Tide’s backup left tackle and sophomore Chad Lindsay is listed as the second left guard on the two-deep.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Kelly, who has shifted around a bit during his time in Tuscaloosa and is dealing with a minor injury, is senior Barrett Jones’ primary backup. Redshirt freshman Arie Kouandjio, who is recovering from a number of injuries, appears to be in great shape and moved his way into the two-deep at the right guard position behind Anthony Steen. Lastly, sophomore Austin Shepherd cracked the Tide’s depth chart as D.J. Fluker’s backup.
One of the most surprising positions on the depth chart had nothing to do with the offensive line or the defensive backfield. The tight end/H-back position provided a reason for raised eyebrows when the depth chart was released on Tuesday afternoon. Walk-on senior Kelly Johnson made the two-deep as the Tide’s starter at the position.
Harrison Jones is listed behind Johnson and sophomore Brent Calloway, who is making the transition from running back to H-back, is also listed on the depth chart at the position.
Junior running back Eddie Lacy is the Tide’s starting running back, but behind Lacy is where things get a little tricky. Junior Jalston Fowler is listed immediately behind Lacy, but true freshman T.J. Yeldon is also listed as an option. Redshirt freshman Dee Hart is the third, or fourth in reality, running back on the depth chart.
Sophomore wide receiver DeAndrew White will open the season as the starter for the Crimson Tide at the X wide receiver position. True freshman Amari Cooper, who returned to practice on Monday after recovering from a minor injury, is White’s backup and will likely see playing time against the Wolverines. Cooper put together an impressive spring campaign and has impressed the coaching staff as well as his teammates.
Junior wide receiver Kevin Norwood is the Tide’s Z wide receiver for the season opener. Norwood is heading into the 2012 season with a ton of momentum generated during the BCS National Championship Game. He has gotten bigger and stronger, and as a result he seems to have taken the next step towards becoming a mainstay at the receiver position. Kenny Bell is listed behind Norwood.
The depth chart will likely change throughout the season, but the two-deep that was released on Tuesday afternoon gives a preview of how the Crimson Tide will look when it takes the field in Arlington on Saturday. A number of fresh faces will have the chance to contribute at important positions, and will have to be prepared to play in a unique environment. An entire fall camp and a week of preparations should be more than enough to have any inexperienced player listed on the two-deep ready for action on Saturday.
DE (49) Ed Stinson (8) Jeoffrey Pagan
NG (54) Jesse Williams (62) Brandon Ivory
DE (92) Damion Square (90) Quinton Dial
SAM (42) Adrian Hubbard (19) Jonathan Atchison
MIKE (33) Trey DePriest/ (35) Nico Johnson (18) Reggie Ragland
WILL (35) Nico Johnson/ (32) C.J. Mosley (11) Tana Patrick
JACK (47) Xzavier Dickson (30) Denzel Devall
CB (13) Deion Belue (24) Geno Smith
CB (28) Dee Milliner (10) John Fulton
SS (37) Robert Lester (27) Nick Perry
FS (3) Vinnie Sunseri/ (6) HaHa Clinton-Dix (26) Landon Collins
LT (71) Cyrus Kouandjio (63) Kellen Williams
LG (65) Chance Warmack (78) Chad Lindsay
C (75) Barrett Jones (70) Ryan Kelly
RG (61) Anthony Steen (77) Arie Kouandjio
RT (76) D.J. Fluker (79) Austin Shepherd
TE (89) Michael Williams (84) Brian Vogler
TE/H (31) Kelly Johnson (82) Harrison Jones (21) Brent Calloway
QB (10) AJ McCarron (12) Phillip Ely
RB (42) Eddie Lacy (45) Jalston Fowler/ (4) T.J. Yeldon (1) Dee Hart
WR(X) (2) DeAndrew White (9) Amari Cooper (80) Marvin Shinn
WR(Z) (83) Kevin Norwood (7) Kenny Bell
WR(H) (22) Christion Jones (8) Cyrus Jones
PK (5) Jeremy Shelley/ (43) Cade Foster
KO (43) Cade Foster
HOLD (10) AJ McCarron (3) Vinnie Sunseri
P (29) Cody Mandell (5) Jeremy Shelley
SN (51) Carson Tinker (31) Kelly Johnson
PR (22) Christion Jones (1) Dee Hart
KOR (22) Christion Jones (28) Dee Milliner (1) Dee Hart (83) Kevin Norwood
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