Quarterback on Dean's List

All Trent Dean wanted for Christmas was a chance to play quarterback for the University of Alabama. Whether he gets his Christmas wish won't be known until December 28, when Alabama plays Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl.

"It was special teams - I thought that was going to be my thing - maybe defense," Trent Dean said. "But things have changed a little bit."

There's been a lot of attrition at the quarterback position for Dean's name to be connected with a plausible chance of actually playing the position in a game. First, Marc Guillon quit the team with what would have been just a few months left in his career. Then freshman Jimmy Barnes, who had slid up to the number two spot, tore his ACL knee ligament in Bama's first practice following the Alabama-Auburn game.

That left Greg McElroy, a true freshman who had not played, as the only scholarship player remaining at the position. Interim head coach Joe Kines made clear that he would not take the redshirt off of McElroy, so the duties of backup, if they became necessary, fell to part-time quarterback, full-time running back Jimmy Johns and the walk-on from Decatur High School.

It would be comparable to the fifth runner-up in the Miss America Pageant getting a chance to assume the role because the previous four couldn't fulfill their duties.

But Tide starter John Parker Wilson has not needed a backup as of yet, and hopefully won't. Alabama fans hope Dean gets his wish only in the case of an Alabama blowout win, however, and not because of an injury to starting quarterback John Parker Wilson and/or halfback/quarterback Jimmy Johns.

The possibility has a few people asking just who is Trent Dean.

"A couple of years ago they needed someone to run the option, so that's how I got to scout team quarterback," the 5-11, 180 pound redhead said. "I've been still having to do my scout team option work. I'm still having to do pretty much everything.

"Early in the practice I might get a couple of reps in inside team, but I get most of my reps offense vs. scout team and at the end when we do this 3s on 3s scrimmage, that's when I get a lot of individual work.

Inside drill is a period of practice that focuses totally on running plays (and generally plays that are ran inside the tackle ,hence the name of the drill), which gave Dean a hint of the scope of the playbook should he be forced into the lineup.

"Probably a lot of run plays. Probably a lot of run plays," he repeated. "I don't know a whole bunch of plays, but the ones I do know – I know ‘em."

Dean isn't a mystery to Alabama defenders. He won a little-publicized honor last year, as Scout Team Player of the Week, given by the coaching staff after each game. This was for helping Bama prepare for Florida's spread option attack.

Coming out of high school they said you're too small to play big-time quarterback, so if you want to play at a big school you've got to play safety. I decided to walk on here instead of going to a smaller school.

"I've got a little respect from most of them," he said, "so most of them don't hit me."

Dean doesn't know where the next Alabama coach will want him to play, but it will realistically more likely be on special teams and defense rather than quarterback.

"Since I'm on scout team my name's not out there much, so something like this – get my name out there with positive talk – that's good for me," he said. "But there's also a lot of uncertainty with the new coach coming in and all that stuff. I really don't know how it will affect me."

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