“If I were you, I wouldn’t make too much of the depth chart we released,” Saban said Monday. “It’s a chore for me to do that. It really is. I know it’s important to you, so we wanted to provide you with something. But don’t ask me questions cause I’m telling you now, it’s for you. The depth chart isn’t for our team — it’s for you so you can have it, write about it and talk about it. You made me do a depth chart when I didn’t want to do one.”
Without reading too much into it, there was one glaring omission from the Crimson Tide’s two-deep depth chart. Running back Kenyan Drake, the Tide’s third-leading rusher last season, wasn’t listed.
Jalston Fowler was listed as the No. 2 running back. Saban said Fowler will play a “dual role” at both running back and H-back with Dee Hart, Derrick Henry and Altee Tenpenny listed as co-No. 3 running backs.
Saban also mentioned every running back by name except Drake.
“I think that T.J. certainly is a guy that has played a lot and has experience,” Saban said. “I think Jalston Fowler is another guy who’s played a lot and had experience. … Dee Hart is a guy that’s played some who will have some situational playing opportunities in this game as well.
“I think that there’s probably two of the freshmen that have sort of … I think they’re all good. (Alvin) Kamara had an injury, so he missed a while. He’ll be back practicing, but it’s hard to get him ready to play this game right now. Tyren Jones did a good job in the last scrimmage, but really Altee and Derrick Henry have gotten the most reps and are probably the most prepared to be able to play right now.”
Drake has been working as a scout team running back for the past few practices. The depth chart was released after Saban’s allotted speaking time, so reporters did not have a chance to ask about Drake not being on the depth chart.
Eleven true freshmen made the two-deep: nose-guard A’Shawn Robinson, defensive end Jonathan Allen, linebacker Reuben Foster, cornerback Maurice Smith, offensive tackle Grant Hill, tight end O.J. Howard, receivers Raheem Falkins and Robert Foster, long snapper Cole Mazza and running backs Henry and Tenpenny.
The offensive line remained the same: Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle, Arie Kouandjio at left guard, Ryan Kelly at center, Anthony Steen at right guard and Austin Shepherd at right tackle.