Despite many questions, Alabama is poised to make another run for the SEC title.
HOOVER, Alabama – A pair of Bear Bryant lookalikes in the lobby of the Wynfrey Hotel were the signal. It was Alabama’s turn at Southeastern Conference Media Days.
Even breaking a new quarterback, running back and dealing with the offseason arrest of the best player on the team, Alabama owns the annual gathering. The man with the Crimson Tide WWE-style championship belt all the proof needed.
Coach Nick Saban was the first coach to take the dais on July 13. His team is, again, a favorite to finish in the top two of the SEC West. Saban fielded questions about nearly every unit on his roster except quarterback. But he made the most news of the day for an exchange he had off-air with ESPN’s Paul Finebaum.
Saban had skated through the main media hall without having been asked about the offseason arrest of offensive lineman Cam Robinson. When the coach went to the ESPN desk to join them live, it was the first question posed. It was mild and Saban defended his player. Upon commercial, Saban grew loud and animated with Finebaum. Depending on with whom you talk, Saban was either upset for that being the first question he had to face or he was adamant his player would be vindicated.
Either way, it was about the most interesting thing Alabama had to deal with on the day.
As to things on the field, its still a team searching for a quarterback. It’s still a team hoping for a breakout season from O.J. Howard. And it’s still a team breaking in new players at running back. That first issue is still the most major, even if success hasn’t exactly been lacking in other seasons Alabama had to find a signal-caller.
“For the third year in a row, I’m standing up here talking about somebody’s going to be a new quarterback for us,” Saban said. “Somebody’s got to win the team. I’m not going to sit up here and sort of try to … give you statistics on who is winning the race and who the race is going and who is ahead. That’s something that’s going to happen in fall camp.”
It’s a factor that might see Alabama as a projected second-place team in the SEC West when the order of finish is released later this week. Just don’t tell that to the lookalikes in the lobby.