Coach Nick Saban said that on Saturday, the Crimson Tide will play their season’s opening game against West Virginia’s Mountaineers without the services of Trey DePriest due to an NCAA violation which has not been disclosed, but many believe that the starting inside linebacker’s absence should not be much of a problem for Alabama.
On Wednesday, Saban announced that DePriest – a senior who during the past two seasons started in 26 games and proved to be a key player for the team – has been set to return when Alabama takes on Florida Atlantic in Week 2, in a match that many fans will definitely not miss.
Saban said that ever since the player ended up being limited for a large part of fall camp due to an injury, his backups were able to get a lot of reps, so many of the team’s fans don’t see the player’s absence as something that should get in the way, although they do want to see him back in action as soon as possible.
“Even though this wasn’t something we anticipated, it was something we were able to prepare for,” he said.
Saban said that Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster – both of them players who many fans believe could be crucial in the game – will take DePriest’s place when the team faces West Virginia. Next will be Shaun Dion Hamilton on Dillon Lee, who are also well known for their abilities on the field.
The coach does not believe that the game plan will be greatly affected by DePriest’s absence, because on offense, West Virginia uses multiple-receiver sets that don’t need as many linebackers.
“We’ll probably be in nickel or dime in this game 70 percent or more,” Saban said, “so there won’t be a lot of regular [base defenses].”
Alabama is set to take on West Virginia on Saturday in Atlanta at 3:30 p.m. ET, and live betting fans can’t wait to see what will happen when these teams go head-to-head.