Man it is getting rough down here. Got this analysis sent from a BAMA fan at work to my work email. Didn't have a source in the email so I will take the liberty of pasting what was sent to my email in it's entirety. In short, as BAMA sees it, there Offense is better than our Defense except for the interier line where we are even. Thought I would share the aggravation, and give Bama's perspective.
Alabama wide receivers 9 Amari Cooper (6'1, 202, So.); 7 Kenny Bell (6'1, 180, Sr.); 83 Kevin Norwood (6'2, 195, Sr.); 2 DeAndrew White (6'0, 190, Jr.); and 22 Christion Jones (5'11, 185, Jr.) vs. Virginia Tech cornerbacks 31 Brandon Facyson (6'2, 188, Fr.); 17 Kyle Fuller (6'0, 194, Sr.); and 11 Kendall Fuller (5'11, 193, Fr.).
From the UA perspective: Between the guys listed above, Alabama returns five wide receivers who combined to catch 140 passes for 2,365 yards (16.9 yards per catch) and 24 touchdowns a season ago. Cooper, Bell, Norwood, White and Jones all made starts in 2012. And even with all that experienced talent, the Crimson Tide's initial depth chart still included a trio of freshmen in Chris Black, Robert Foster and Raheem Falkins.
From the Virginia Tech perspective: As a group, the Hokies' top three corners enter the opener with 34 career starts to their credit. The bad news is that all of those belong to Kyle Fuller. The Hokies are expected to start a true freshman -- Kendall Fuller -- at one cornerback spot Saturday and play another -- Facyson -- in its nickel package. The Kouandjios won't be the only starting brother tandem in the Dome Saturday as Kendall's older brother, Kyle, is set to start at the opposite corner for Tech.
Who gets the nod?: A healthy Antone Exum makes this matchup much more competitive. Instead, after sustaining an ACL injury (among other things) while playing basketball in January, Exum, a second-team All-ACC performer in 2012, will watch helplessly from the Hokies' sideline. Even with Exum out, VT defensive coordinator Bud Foster will bring pressure. In an effort to protect his young corners, though, look for him to play a good bit of zone behind it.
As if Alabama doesn't have enough weapons on the outside, the Crimson Tide's offensive attack will be triggered by a quarterback who will likely leave Tuscaloosa with every major passing record in his back pocket. Foster is well known for his ability to scramble the eggs of opposing quarterbacks. Entering his third season as a starter, though, AJ McCarron has just about seen it all. Edge to Alabama.
Alabama offensive tackles 71 Cyrus Kouandjio (6'6, 311, So.) and 79 Austin Shepherd (6'5, 315, Jr.) vs. Virginia Tech defensive ends 99 James Gayle (6'4, 255, Sr.); 42 J.R. Collins (6'2, 248, Sr.) and 90 Dadi Nicolas (6'3, 224, So.).
From the UA perspective: Kouandjio's return at left tackle solidified Alabama's passing attack as the most complete in all of college football. His ability to handle elite edge rushers one-on-one will allow the offensive staff to provide schematic assistance on the other side, where Shepherd is faced with the unenviable task of replacing DJ Fluker.
From the Virginia Tech perspective: A two-time, second-team All-ACC performer, Gayle enters his senior season with 16 career sacks, the most of any player on either roster.
After a mediocre season in 2012, Collins is looking to regain his 2011 form, when he posted 9.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. He entered the week bracketed with Nicolas, a pass rush specialist who isn't physically equipped to hang in against downhill rushing attacks.
Who gets the nod?: With Gayle up first, Shepherd's debut as a starter will be anything but a cakewalk. And that's why you will likely see a tight end and/or a back provide occasional assistance to Shepherd in passing situations. With Kouandjio taking care of business on the other side, the Crimson Tide will have the luxury of being able to do that throughout the season. Edge to UA.
Alabama center 70 Ryan Kelly (6'5, 290, So.) and offensive guards 77 Arie Kouandjio (6'5, 315, So.) and 61 Anthony Steen (6'3, 309, Sr.) vs. Virginia Tech defensive tackles 98 Derrick Hopkins (6'0, 311, Sr.) and 92 Luther Maddy (6'1, 296, Jr.) .
From the UA perspective: All eyes on Kelly and Arie Kounadjio, who are charged with replacing a couple of All-Americans in Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack. Other than that, no big deal, right?
The one play I'm most anxious to see from the Crimson Tide offense against Tech is one of the most basic plays in the playbook: the Power. With Warmack pulling and leading the way, it served as the foundation of the UA running game the past few years. It will be interesting to see how well Kounadjio moves his feet and finds his target on what was Warmack's bread and butter play.
From the Virginia Tech perspective: Together, Hopkins and Maddy have made 43 career starts for the Hokies, with Hopkins riding a streak of 27 in a row. As central figures in a defense that asks its linemen to shoot gaps and get up the field, the duo combined for 7.5 sacks a season ago.
Who gets the nod?: Depth is a concern for Tech as sophomore Corey Marshall (personal reasons), who played 392 snaps in 2012, won't be available for the opener. Without him, undersized true freshman Woody Barron (6'1, 264) is the Hokies' next best option at the position.
Kelly and Kouandjio may be new to starting but it's not like they're fresh off the street. Both were afforded the opportunity to develop at a reasonable pace before being thrown into the mix and they'll benefit from the presence of Steen, who has taken on more of a leadership role following the departures of Jones and Warmack. Even.