Looking ahead to the Crimson Tide's Iron Bowl match with rival Auburn...
For the second straight year, Alabama enters the Iron Bowl with a national championship still within reach. After last year's disastrous finish, the nation's eyes will be back on the game Saturday to see if the Crimson Tide can find redemption at home. A few key things to watch for from Crimson Cover:
1) Crimson Cover sources from the practice field expect a strong performance from RB T.J. Yeldon. The junior was withheld from Saturday's 48-14 win over Western Carolina for precautionary reasons. But he's not been limited in practice this week, and we are told Yeldon looks as sharper than he's been in weeks.
2) Auburn left tackle Shon Coleman's reputation for holding, by this point in the season, precedes him. Watch for Xzavier Dickson, D.J. Pettway, and others who could draw Coleman in pass-rushing situations to use various hand and/or rip techniques to prevent holding or, at worst, expose it.
3) If TE Brian Vogler and WR ArDarius Stewart are unable to play due to knee injuries, it could open up significantly more playing time for not only reserve receivers, but FB Jalston Fowler as well. Stewart had been emerging as a target for Blake Sims before he was hurt against WCU.
4) Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson is expected to play, but the true freshman won't be 100 percent by any means. If the Auburn defense is able to hold down the Tide's rushing attack on early downs, that could be one of the factors. Alabama's guard play with Arie Kouandjio and Leon Brown will also be crucial to the Tide's running game. Both have had their troubles this season, but have been better since center Ryan Kelly returned to the lineup from injury.
5) Auburn WR Duke Williams is expected to return from injury against Alabama, which means the Tide's cornerback duo of Cyrus Jones and Eddie Jackson will be both be challenged with a size disadvantage -- particularly Jones. Expect Nick Marshall to favor pass routes that are especially effective with size mismatches: quick slants, fades, etc.