BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
"Fear has taken over." That's how one investment company executive described the scene on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday as stocks took a dive. The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 1,000 points in a matter of seconds. The numbers have climbed back a bit, but it will certainly make for an interesting Monday.
While I'm not quite ready to run in fear to my financial guy, the talk of the stock market certainly has me thinking about where some key Tide and Tiger football players stand less than two weeks from the season openers. What players have seen their stock rise since those scrimmages/practices over the weekend? As the game plans are about to be installed, here are six players whose stocks are rising!
Alabama Quarterback Alec Morris:
Where did he come from? While all eyes have been on Jake Coker's health and the strong arm of Blake Barnett, this fourth-year junior may very well be leading the Crimson Tide offense against Wisconsin come September 5th. While scrimmage starts were not offered up on Saturday, Coach Nick Saban said after the scrimmage that Morris threw 21 passes and looked impressive. Said Saban, "Alec has done a nice job for us all pre-season. I think he does a really nice job of understanding the offense and he helps other players get better. He has shown command at that position, which I think is important." Pretty high praise for a coach known to keep things close to his silver vest, don't you think? And Coker's performance in that scrimmage? Said Saban, "Jake did a decent job." Morris was seen working with the first-team offense during the pre-scrimmage viewing period on Saturday (which may or not may not mean a thing), and some unconfirmed reports had the pride of Allen, Texas looking sharp in the scrimmage. It looks like a Morris-Coker battle from here on out, so stay tuned! STOCK UP
Auburn Tailback Jovon Robinson:
Go ahead and say that Gus Malzahn's offense is "plug and play", but the fact of the matter is that the hype surrounding this former JUCO record-setting tailback has been off the charts. But does hype spell success? Coaches Malzahn and Lashlee have had two fine tailbacks shine during the last few weeks: Former Oxford star Roc Thomas along with Peyton Barber have been solid, Robinson, not so much. But over the past several days, Jovon Robinson has shown flashes of the physical tailback he has been. Says Malzahn, "Jovon has had a couple of early hiccups but he's done a solid job and he's really come on." While Tiger fans may see a tailback-by-committee approach at tailback early this season, it appears Robinson is poised to make his move. STOCK UP
Alabama Defensive Back Cyrus Jones:
Cyrus Jones is ready to make Bama fans forget his more infamous plays (see past games against Texas A&M, Auburn 2013 and Ohio State). But Jones tells me he's ready to out a capper on his Bama career in big-time fashion, telling me he is looking for respect to return. Fan criticisms and injuries behind him, the former receiver is ready for more than a big season from his cornerback spot: He's about to be Nick Saban's go-to special teams return man. Look for Jones to replace the departed Christion Jones as the man returning those kicks and punts this fall. Says Nick Saban, "Cyrus has done it all- he's done a really nice job for us. He's got good judgement and good hands, good running ability, he's fast and explosive." In 2014 Cyrus Jones had a total of 4 returns for an average of 21 yards. Expect both numbers to climb in 2015. STOCK UP
Auburn Center Xavier Dampeer:
So you thought it was a slam dunk, eh? You thought Austin Golson, the Ole Miss transfer would be the starting center for the Tigers this fall. Not so fast, as Dampeer is making a play for the starting center spot. Let's face it, Reese Dismukes is not easy to replace, but whether it winds up being Golson or Dampeer ar center, says Gus Malzahn, "Both of those guys are solid." So who do you like? Golson played twelve games at right guard in 2013 for Ole Miss, while Dampeer did see action last fall for the Tigers, appearing five games. I have a feeling this battle could go to the wire, with Dampeer pushing Golson hard. STOCK UP
Alabama Receiver Ardarius "Mustang" Stewart:
We knew from watching him play quarterback at Fultondale High School that this kid was something special, and come this fall, Stewart will be one of the go-to receivers on the Bama football team. Stewart's stock is rising at just the right time, as he had eight catches in Saturdays scrimmage, drawing the praise of his head coach. "He adjusted to the ball well and made some contested plays", said Nick Saban. Added offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin a few weeks ago when sizing up his offensive roster, "Aradarius is probably the most talented guy we have." It was back in 2012 when Stewart ran and passed his way toward high school stardom outside Birmingham. Look for his star to shine this season in Tuscaloosa. STOCK UP
Auburn Receiver Duke Williams:
What? He of the Outback Bowl suspension, controversial Tweets and mystery practice absence? This young man is simply too talented to remain at the bottom of Gus Malzahn's depth chart. Placed on the scout team following his 6-day practice absence due a "disciplinary issue", Williams was told to work his way up. That he has done, as Coach Malzahn said Saturday, "He's been working with the two's and he's responded well." Will Williams see action against Louisville? Said Malzahn, "We will see as it gets closer to the game." While Malzahn has receivers such as Melvin Ray, Ricardo Louis and Jonathan Wallace, all three capable, it's Duke Williams, who is expected to be the first receiver taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, who will be front and center at the wide out spot in 2015. Last fall Williams caught 45 passes for 730 yards. Look for those numbers to climb as the young man has crawled out of the dog house and is now looking to the penthouse. STOCK UP
Let me guess: You are chomping at the bit for the college football season to begin. I'm with you, my friend. My only advice? Before football returns, you may want to check the stock market and look over your investment portfolio. Here's hoping that your stock us up!