TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The mystery of the depth chart lasted until Mark Barron’s phone rang Monday afternoon.
It took the help of a few friends before the sophomore knew he would be the starting strong safety.
“Of course I was excited getting the starting job,” he said.
The difference between strong and free safety is minimal and Barron will share the responsibility of calling out formations with free safety Justin Woodall. Last season, that duty was completely up to free safety Rashad Johnson who was drafted in April.
As a freshman in 2008, Barron made most of his 18 tackles on special teams where he will continue playing. His job on the kickoff team remains, Barron said.
Defensive teammates such as linebacker Rolando McClain have respect for Barron’s aggressive play.
“He’ll come in the box and hit,” McClain said. “Even though he is a younger guy, I think he will be surprisingly good.”
If any issues arise in calling out formations, McClain said he’s ready to step in and take that job as one of the leaders on the field.
The competition for the starting job at quarterback didn’t work out as Star Jackson had hoped.
Greg McElroy earned that job in the spring, but Jackson has emerged as the best option if something were to happen to the starter.
Even though the depth chart has an “or” between Jackson and Thomas Darrah for the No. 2 job, coach Nick Saban said the redshirt freshman will be the true second option.
“He doesn’t have a lot of experience, but neither does Thomas Darrah,” Saban said. “I’m not going to get into comparing guys but Star has made a lot of improvement and a lot of progress.”