Alabama typically makes the headlines quite often, but not for the reasons that have come about here as of late. The eyes of the college football world have shifted back to Tuscaloosa on the eve of their season opener against Duke in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. In case you have lived under a rock, let me debrief you as to what has occurred in the Saban camp. 5th year senior LB Josh McMillon and former 5- Star freshman RB Trey Sanders were injured in fall camp. The result of those injuries has led them to miss the 2019 season. Next, top RBs Najee Harris & Brian Robinson, WR Devonta Smith, and LB Terrell Lewis have been suspended from the first half of the season opener due to missing a team function. Finally, the most gut-wrenching blow of all came Tuesday night. Preseason All-American, defensive captain, Butkus Award finalist, and projected first round draft pick LB Dylan Moses tore his ACL.
Needless to say, it has not been a good week for the Tide. Bama fans are in a frenzy and Tide-haters are rejoicing at the possibility of the dynasty being over. To both, I say simmer down. Those who are fretting, Nick Saban is the best in the business for a reason and we’ve faced a similar situation before in 2017. What happened eventually? Alabama avenged their loss to Clemson and defeated Georgia in a thrilling overtime victory to win the national championship. As far at the anti-Alabama people riddled with Bama fatigue, you can’t will the demise of a program. So, cancel the funeral arrangements and the inauguration of your chosen successor. So, where does the 17-time national champion go from here?
Unless they have run away, Raekwon Davis, Anfernee Jennings, Xavier McKinney, Patrick Surtain Jr, Terrell Lewis, and Trevon Diggs all still play for the Crimson Tide. So, they are not in the direst of straights. The last I checked, those are all future NFL players. Talent is not a problem. However, at this point, this is the time for these players to become strong leaders. This goes beyond being an All-American candidate or NFL prospect. It’s about taking care of the family. I have no doubt that this task will be honored; especially with this “Clemson-sized” chip on their shoulder. They will be very instrumental in the development of Christian Harris and Shane Lee, who will be stepping into the starting roles formerly held by McMillon and Moses.
Let’s talk about Christian and Shane. Both come into this fall with a lot of notoriety. Shane “The Hulk” Lee is 6’0 245lbs of solid rock from Asgard. He’s a former 4-star signee from Maryland who had a tremendous spring. His performance in the A-Day was very impressive (8 tackles, 1 INT). Lee is big, physical, and has a maturity that most freshmen don’t possess. Christian Harris is former 4-star from this past class who enrolled early. Upon hitting campus, he quickly impressed the coaching staff and started in some of the remaining practices of the preseason. The No.4 rated LB along with Shane Lee have assumed command of the defense. Based on reports, they have done so with relative ease and to Saban’s liking. If they already have his endorsement, that means “watch out”. Will there be growing pains with these young guys? It is to be expected. However, if Nick has already given them the keys to the defense, there will not be many during this transition period.
Let us also not forget, the top part of the schedule allows for time to grow and adjust. Alabama, to the criticism of many, has a presumably easy schedule to start things off. This is where Bama fans start to relax. Najee Harris, Brian Robinson Jr., Devonta Smith, and Terrell Lewis will return. Breathing becomes easier. The greatest point to make is that Tua Tagovailoa and the most elite group of WRs in college football are still playing! Normal sleeping pattern has been resumed. Are good now? So, just sit back, pick up some Dreamland BBQ, and “trust the process”. Nick Saban is in control.
I am a 2003 graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in Exercise Science. While at the Capstone, I served as a student assistant with the head strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide football team. I have competed in both powerlifting and bodybuilding for several years. In addition, I have served athletes and people through the arena of personal training. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a passionate fan of Alabama, but do not make other fan bases miserable because of it. College football has my heart first, but I cover all areas of sports. Follow me on Twitter: @justinriley7!