August 29, 2007

5 On The Spot

Alabama opens the 2007 season Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium against Western Carolina. While all expectations are for a lopsided score, there are still several players who, with a good performance, can solidify their playing time when UA moves into the conference schedule. Here are five players to watch against the Catamounts.

1.] Lorenzo Washington - The new starter at noseguard after Brian Motley went down with an injury Monday gets his first career start. Against a spread offense that will look to get the ball out quickly, Washington's performance can't be measured by sacks and tackles for loss because he simply won't get many opportunities for either. What Washington must show is whistle-to-whistle effort and the stamina to play without being spelled too often by true freshmen.

2.] True freshman Rolando McClain will start his first career game at the Mike (middle) position. But unlike Washington and Johnson, the Catamounts can tell fans something about McClain's readiness. Granted, the four-star recruit from Decatur will face much tougher assignments in the coming weeks, but Western Carolina will still be a real eye-opener for McClain compared to a Friday night against Russellville High. WCU's spread offense may help McClain adjust to the speed of the college game, but he won't pay near the physical toll he will in subsequent weeks.

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