No Real Surprises On Bowl Depth Chart

I can hardly contain myself! That's what Alabama Coach Nick Saban probably thinks. Twice a year the Crimson Tide coach provides a depth chart, which he also debunks and which he thinks is the lifeblood of sports reporters.



Alabama issues a depth chart a week before the opening game of the season and again prior to the bowl game. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban has always said that the only reason he has a depth chart is "for organizational purposes."

One doesn't have to be a football coach to understand that a depth chart is fluid, that players move up and down for any number of reasons -- injury, attitude, position changes, performance, motivation, etc.

A depth chart is moderately helpful to a sports reporter, particularly since Alabama practices are closed. (A brief viewing period gives some hints as to how players are lined up, but without observing any team work in practice, we rely on what we see in games and in our twice-a-year announcements from Saban.)

Because we have watched 12 games this year, there are no real surprises on the bowl depth chart.

Alabama's normal defense of record is the 3-4, but as often as not the Tide opens games with a nickel back -- Demarcus Milliner -- rather than a strongside linebacker -- Jerrell Harris. The depth chart reflects the 3-4.

On offense, the depth chart lists senior Alfred McCullough ahead of sophomore Anthony Steen at right guard, although Steen was the starter there for most of the year except when injured. McCullough said the two were splitting practice repetitions and he did not expect a starter to be named until game time against LSU in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans on Jan. 9.

McCullough is also listed as the back-up left tackle and back-up left guard. Left tackle Barrett Jones, who is capable of playing every offensive line position, is not listed as a backup.

Alex Watkins, who missed some work in the middle of the season with a broken arm, was not listed on the depth chart, but that almost certainly is an oversight. We would list him second at jack linebacker.

Here is the depth chart provided by Alabama:

OFFENSE

Left Tackle -- Barrett Jones, Alfred McCullough

Left Guard -- Chance Warmack, Alfred McCullough

Center -- William Vlachos, Kellen Williams, Chad Lindsay

Right Guard -- Alfred McCullough, Anthony Steen, John Michael Boswell

Right Tackle -- D.J. Fluker, Justin Shepherd

Tight End (Y) -- Michael Williams, Chris Underwood, Brian Vogler

Tight End (H) -- Brad Smelley, Harrison Jones

Quarterback -- A.J. McCarron, Phillip Sims, Phillip Ely

Tailback -- Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, Jalston Fowler, Blake Sims

Wide Receiver -- Marquis Maze, Brandon Gibson, Kevin Norwood, Christion Jones

Wide Receiver -- Darius Hanks, Kenny Bell, DeAndrew White

DEFENSE

End -- Jesse Williams, Quinton Dial, Undra Billingsley

Nose Tackle -- Josh Chapman, Nick Gentry, Jesse Williams

End -- Damion Square, Ed Stinson

Middle Linebacker -- Dont'a Hightower, Trey DePriest, Chris Jordan

Jack Linebacker -- Courtney Upshaw, Adrian Hubbard, Xzavier Dickson

Weakside Linebacker -- Nico Johnson, C.J. Mosley, Tana Patrick

Strongside Linebacker -- Jerrell Harris, Adrian Hubbard

Cornerback -- DeQuan Menzie, Dee Milliner, John Fulton

Cornerback -- Dre Kirkpatrick, Phelon Jones

Strong Safety -- Robert Lester, Vinnie Sunseri, Jarrick Williams

Safety -- Mark Barron, Nick Perry, HaHa Clinton-Dix

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker -- Jeremy Shelley, Cade Foster

Kickoffs -- Cade Foster, Jeremy Shelley

Holder -- A.J. McCarron, Hardie Buck

Punter -- Cody Mandell, Jay Williams

Snapper -- Carson Tinker, Kelly Johnson

Punt Returns -- Marquis Maze, Kenny Bell, DeAndrew White

Kickoff Returns -- Marquis Maze, Trent Richardson, Darius Hanks, Dee Milliner

Two wide receivers who were suspended late in the season, redshirt sophomore Michael Bowman and freshman Ronald Carswell, were not listed on the depth chart or the roster for the BCS National Championship Game. Bowman played in one game in 2011. Carswell did not play.

Also not on the roster is wide receiver Duron Carter, a transfer who was not eligible for competition in 2011. He was not seen at practices for the bowl game, but Saban would not comment on his status.

Also not listed on the roster is freshman tailback Dee Hart, who was injured prior to the season and unable to play, and who also reportedly had some issues during the season.

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