TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Heading into Alabama’s home opener vs. Western Kentucky, we enlisted a little help to get a feel for the Hilltopers ahead of Saturday’s contest.
Chad Bishop is the college sports insider for WBKO-TV in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Kickoff for the contest is scheduled for 3:30 ET on ESPN2 inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Top-ranked Alabama is coming off a 52-6 win over Southern Cal in its season opener. Western Kentucky beat Rice 46-14 in Week 1.
Chad Bishop, WBKO-TV
Question: What is the coaching staff doing to get the players ready for the game and atmosphere in Tuscaloosa?
Chad Bishop: Much like they did before heading to LSU in 2015, crowd noise has been pumped in through speakers at practice, but this go-round a playlist on loop of “Sweet Home Alabama.” “Dixieland Delight” and “Thunderstruck” has been mixed in. Freshman offensive lineman Adam Raschilla reportedly joked that it was nowhere near the level of noise at Bryant-Denny. Senior offensive tackle Forrest Lamp joked that once the game starts you can’t hear anything anyway.
As for the game in between the lines, the mantra I’ve heard most often is the Tops just want to be in the game by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. If that’s the case, they feel they’ll have a chance.
Question: Who are some Western Kentucky players Alabama fans should know?
Bishop: Western has at least three NFL prospects on its roster this season (six players made NFL camps off the 2015 team and a couple more were invited to tryouts). The one most-
Others to look out for include: Wide receivers Nicholas Norris (No. 15) and Nacarius Fant (No. 1), running back Anthony Wales (No. 20), defensive lineman Nick Dawson-Brents (No. 12), linebackers Keith Brown (No. 2) and T.J. McCollum (No. 6) and safeties Marcus Ward (No. 8) and Branden Leston (No. 31).
Question: What’s your feel for the game and prediction?
Bishop: My head tells me Alabama will be able to ground and pound the ball for much of the game, wearing WKU’s defense down throughout the middle part of the game. Jalen Hurts ability to run the ball from the QB position could also hurt (pun intended?) the WKU defense.
I also think the Hilltoppers will hang tough and fight to the end, making the score respectable. I took the Tide 38-17.