Fall Camp: Saban Downplays Tide, USC QBs Downplay Transferring

Apr 20, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide White Team quarterback AJ McCarron (10) during the annual A-Day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Fall camps nationwide opened this weekend, bringing us that much closer to real, live football. Drink it in, America. To borrow a phrase from professional wrestling announcer and avid Oklahoma Sooners fan, business is about to pick up.

Here we go with some headlines from the initial days of preseason camps:

• The defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide opened fall camp on Friday, and BamaHammer.com has a break down.

Nick Saban addressed the media after the opening practice, downplaying his team’s credentials in the least convincing fashion imaginable.

• FOX Sports West reports that Lane Kiffin is “tight-lipped” on the USC Trojans new starting quarterback, though some reporters planted the seeds should true freshman Max Browne win out.

Reign of Troy reports hey asked returners Max Wittek and Cody Kessler if they would transfer should either one lose the job.

It’s worth noting that a few months after a true freshman Matt Barkley beat out Aaron Corp before the 2009 season, Corp landed at FCS Richmond. He closed in career with a 17-touchdown, 2682-yard season for the Spiders in 2011.

• New Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones has his own quarterback controversy brewing in fall camp. Football Time In Tennessee’s website, FootballTime.com, has in-depth coverage of the competition, including video like the below:

• Of the many teams with quarterback battles, the least likely to name a definitive starter before Week 1 is Oklahoma State. Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman reports that OSU Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy is keeping his hand close to the chest.

Per Carlson:

If the Cowboys were opening against a lesser foe from a lesser conference, we’d have avoided all of this. If the Cowboys were opening against, say, Savannah State, Mike Gundy would’ve already named a starter.

“Very well could have,” he admitted Saturday during the Cowboys’ media day. “I would say there’s probably a pretty good chance.”

Last year’s Week 1 starter, Wes Lunt, transferred to Illinois earlier this month. A report during spring ball had Clint Chelf tabbed, and he did indeed garner the majority of first string snaps over Lunt and JW Walsh in the April practices. Chelf was also OSU’s starter for the final stretch of last season.

• FCS program Lehigh is gaining some national attention this week. The 2010 and 2011 Patriot League champion Mountain Hawks appear on national TV three times, as head coach Andy Coen tweeted on Friday:

Lehigh has two games on NBC Sports Network this season, and one on CBS Sports Network.

Meanwhile, reports emanating from New York Jets training camp say Lehigh alum Ryan Spadola is impressing at wide receiver, per ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini.

Spadola caught for 24 touchdowns and over 3600 yards in his college career.

• Spadola obviously isn’t the only rookie generating buzz for the Jets, as West Virginia product Geno Smith is in the conversation for starting quarterback.

Back in Morgantown, Dana Holgorsen is searching for his own starter and Smith’s replacement. Florida State Seminoles transfer Clint Trickett is the early front runner, and on Friday showed off his experience, per West Virginia Illustrated.

Topics: Alabama Crimson Tide, Football, Lehigh Mountain Hawks, New York Jets, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Richmond Spiders, Tennessee Volunteers, USC Trojans, West Virginia Mountaineers

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