Now that we’ve covered three players for Alabama A&M to watch, we’ll take a look at three players from UAB to keep an eye on.
Shaq Jones – LB
The most obvious is linebacker Shaq Jones. He’s the captain of this team and it will be his job to make sure the players, especially on defense, are focused for this game. Shaq will be as emotional as anyone having stuck around the program for so long, but he’s the one who will need to lead by example and make sure this team is ready to face an Alabama A&M team looking to ruin #theReturn. Shaq was third on the team in tackles in 2014 with 50, and he was second with 12.5 tackles for a loss. We’re expecting big things from the senior this year, and I think he kicks things off with a bang.
I’ve been harping on this for weeks now, but I really think this team goes as far as the offensive line takes them. I believe the first unit will be very good, but it still takes time for an offensive line to come together. This will be the first time they’ll play together in a real game. Alabama A&M has an experienced front seven, so it will be a good test for this offensive line. Hopefully they can get out of the gate strong and learn quickly how to play together. I also hope they do a good enough job that we can get the second unit in there to give them some reps so maybe we can feel more comfortable with those guys going forward.
A.J. Erdely – QB
This is another “nah, duh” selection, but I think everyone is curious to see what A.J. Erdely can do at quarterback. Quarterback is by far the most important position in college football, if not all of football. You don’t see many teams win a championship without a really good quarterback. I think Erdely, and Tyler Johnston for that matter, have the ability to be really good quarterbacks. Hopefully we get to see that talent on display in this game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaching staff calls a lot of running plays early until the nervousness wears off, but then I think they open up the pass game. You’ll know how confident the coaching staff is in A.J. if they come out throwing the football. Either way, it will be interesting to see how A.J. leads this offense in a real game.
Obviously UAB fans can’t wait to see a lot of these guys on the field for the first time, but these are the three I think everyone will be keeping an eye on Saturday.