October 7, 2006

Scalici: Five on the Spot

This week the Tide faces one of its less challenging opponents this season. That doesn't mean there is nothing to gain, particularly for the younger players looking to make a statement and earn some extra playing time in the future. These are the five Crimson Tide players that must step their games up this week for Game 6 against Duke.

RB Ali Sharrief - Games like this week's are big opportunities for backups at any position and with so many Tide running backs injured this week, Sharrief would appear to be in line for the biggest day of his career. Sharried has been the one name lost in the shuffle at running back and a big day today could make sure the coaches continue to bring his name up in future discussions.

Backup linebackers - The snaps the Tide's backup wide receivers receive against Duke will be among the most crucial to the team's future success on defense as the Tide will lose both starting outside linebackers at the end of this season.

C Evan Cardwell - The number two center has been seeing some time with the first team with regular starter Antoine Caldwell playing alongside him at left guard. If the coaches decide to move in such a direction, Cardwell will need to impress each and every time he takes the field, which will be plenty today.

QB John Parker Wilson - After looking amazingly sharp in his first four games, Wilson appeared a bit rattled last week against the Gators. Another good solid week of pitch and catch with Keith Brown and DJ hall should make for a nice remedy.

Backup wide receivers - As the season continues, the Tide must develop more playmakers at the wide out spots as Hall and Brown begin to draw double-coverage more and more often. Players like Matt Caddell and Nikita Stover have had their moments but both could use breakout games to establish themselves this week as a dangerous third option behind the Tide's dynamic duo.

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