Blog: Who has the edge in the Iron Bowl? Position by position br - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

Blog: Who has the edge in the Iron Bowl? Position by position breakdown

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Quarterback:

Alabama – (AJ McCarron)

The senior quarterback is 36-2, and arguably the greatest in Alabama history. On the season McCarron has completed %68.6 of his passes for 2,399 yards and 23 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. 

Auburn – (Nick Marshall)

One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround on the plains has been the play at the quarterback position. This season Marshall has completed %58.4 of his passes for 1,530 yards with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Marshall has also rushed for 823 yards and 9 touchdowns.      

 Edge: AJ McCarron – Even though Marshall adds a lot with his feet, McCarron is clearly the top quarterback on Saturday.

Running back:

Alabama – (T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake)

The Tide has finally put together a one-two punch with Yeldon and Drake. On the season, Yeldon has rushed for 1022 yards and 12 touchdowns. Drake added 661 yards and 8 touchdowns.

 Auburn – (Tre Mason, Cameron Artis-Payne, Corey Grant)

The Tigers have a three headed monster at running back. Mason is the every down back, Artis-Payne brings power, and Grant offers speed. Mason is the leading rusher at 1,153 with 17 touchdowns. Artis-Payne has rushed for 568 yards with 5 touchdowns. Grant rushed for 557 and 5 touchdowns.

Edge: EVEN – The Tiger running backs have been unstoppable this season. Yeldon and Drake have also taken over games. I think both teams are even at tailback.  

Offensive line:

Alabama – (Cyrus Kouandjio, Arie Kouandjio, Ryan Kelly, Anthony Steen, Austin Shepherd)

This unit was one of the biggest question marks going into the season after losing three players to the NFL Draft. After a slow start, the O-line started to gel, example: the impressive 2nd half of the LSU game.

Auburn – (Greg Robinson, Alex Kozan, Reese Dismukes, Chad Slade, Avery Young)

This is a very young group, but has done a solid job helping the Tigers to one of the nation’s top rushing attacks.

Edge: Alabama I think both of these units are very good. I’ve seen both in person and think Bama’s line is slightly more physical and capable of taking over in the trenches.

Tight end:

Alabama – (O.J. Howard, Brian Vogler)

Both Howard and Vogler bring a lot to the table, but neither has become a great all-around tight end. Vogler is a solid blocker and Howard is a threat in the passing game. Howard has a lot of upside, and should be one of the top tight ends in the country next year.

Auburn – (C.J. Uzomah)

Uzomah’s stats don’t always show it, but he’s a solid blocker and receiver. Uzomah’s big coming out moment this season was the game winning catch against Mississippi State.

Edge: Auburn – I like Howard’s upside, but I think Uzomah will be the best tight end on the field this Saturday.

Wide receiver:

 Alabama – (DeAndrew White, Amari Cooper, Kevin Norwood, Kenny Bell, Christion Jones)

This by far, is one of the most experienced and talented receiver cores in Alabama history. Norwood leads the team in receiving reeling in 33 passes for 493 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Auburn – (Sammie Coates, Quan Bray, Ricardo Louis, Trovon Reed)

The Auburn passing game clearly isn’t the strength of the team, but they’ve been clutch when needed to be. Coates has proven to be a go to guy, and he leads the team with 687 yards and 5 touchdowns with 30 receptions.

Edge: Alabama The Tigers have made improvements this season, but Alabama’s receivers are the better unit.

Defensive line:

Alabama – (Ed Stinson, A’Shawn Robinson, Brandon Ivory, Jeoffrey Pagan)

This group has grown, and done a better job of getting to the quarterback. Still though, their strength has been stopping the run, and this group has done just that.

Auburn – (Dee Ford, Nosa Eguae, Gabe Wright, Ladarius Owens, Montravius Adams, Carl Lawson)

This defensive line has made a living in the other team’s backfield. They’re not the biggest D-line, but they make up for it with speed.    

Edge: Auburn – After watching both in person, I think Auburn’s line is a little more disruptive. But Alabama’s line does their job, and they do it very well.    

Linebacker:

Alabama – (Adrian Hubbard, Trey DePriest, C.J. Mosley, Denzel Devall, Xzavier Dickson)

This group has been stellar, lead by all-world C.J. Mosley. This unit brings a nice mix of speed and power, but Mosley is the glue.

Auburn – (Jake Holland, Kris Frost, Cassanova Mckinzy, Anthony Swain)

This group has made major improvements from last season, but is still lacking one or two playmakers.   

Edge: Alabama – The Tide’s C.J. Mosley is arguably the best linebacker in the country, and he makes anyone playing around him better.

Defensive backs:

Alabama – (Deion Belue, Cyrus Jones, Landon Collins, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jarrick Williams)

This group was the other big question mark going into the season, and at times during the season has remained a question mark. Outside of the Texas A&M game this unit has played well. But the loss of Vinnie Sunseri made a dent in their overall depth.

Auburn – (Robenson Therezie, Jonathon Mincy, Jermaine Whitehead, Ryan Smith, Chris Davis)

Last season, this was one of the worst groups in the nation. This season, one word best describes them… opportunistic. Aaron Murray did light them up in the 2nd half of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, but for the most part they have played well.

Edge: Alabama – The Tigers DB’s are proven ball-hawks, but Alabama unit has played at a slightly higher level. Collins and Clinton-Dix could be the top safety combination in the country.        

 Special teams:

Alabama – (K – Cade Foster, P - Cody mandell)

Foster’s accuracy was questioned going into the season, but it hasn’t been a issue this season. Foster has hit %91.7of his field goal attempts with a long of 52 yards. Mandell has punted extremely well this season, and done a great job at flipping the field.

Auburn – (K – Cody Parkey, P - Steven Clark)

Parkey has a booming kickoff, but has struggled a little bit this season with field goals. Parkey’s numbers are not bad, but he’s down a little from last season hitting %76.5 of his field goals with a long of 50. Clark is once again a solid punter.

Edge: Even - I think both teams feel confident in their special teams, and both teams have proven to be dangerous in the kick return game as well.  

Connect with Patrick on Twitter: @Patrickp13   

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