SEC Media Days are in full swing at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham in Hoover, with Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide highlighting a Day 3 that also includes Texas A&M, Missouri and Kentucky.
The most watched moment of the day will undoubtedly be when Saban takes the stage at approximately 9 a.m.
One of the favorites, if not the favorite, to win it all in 2016, Alabama seemed poised to repeat as national champs when they took the field against, the Clemson Tigers, in a rematch of the thrilling inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship. It was not to be, as Tigers’ senior quarterback Deshaun Watson led his team to victory in a game for the ages.
Despite losing key players on both side of the ball, Saban’s team is still loaded with talent and expected to contend for both an SEC Championship and a playoff spot. He’ll have a rising star under center in sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurt, but questions remain about whether first-year offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s play-calling will be the answer for an offensive that struggled to score at times last season.
Three key players will be joining Saban as player representatives, leaders who will be expected to not only help the team move on from last season’s disappointing finale, but navigate another brutal schedule – starting with a huge opener against Florida State.
Junior CB Minkah Fitzpatrick’s stellar sophomore season him numerous accolades, including first team All-American honors, and high expectations going into the upcoming season. He showed a knack for making big plays in the backfield, returning four of his team-leading six interceptions for touchdowns (his four pick-sixes also set a team record.)
Bradley Bozeman, C, earned the starting job last season and played all 15 games. A powerful and steady presence on the offensive line, the senior helped the Tide average 245.0 yards rushing per game in 2016, and didn’t allow a sack in all but two games.
And finally, there’s junior WR Calvin Ridley. In two seasons, the All-American big play threat has amassed 1,814 yards on 161 receptions, with 21 catches going for 15 yards or more in 2016. But there’s no better indicator of how dangerous he is than the fact that 39 of his receptions have resulted in touchdowns.
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