Alabama NewsCenter 2019 football preview: West Alabama

Alabama NewsCenter 2019 football preview: West Alabama
Receiver Christian Saulsberry is a standout for West Alabama this season. (West Alabama Athletics)

Brett Gilliland considers what might have been in 2018 for his West Alabama football team, which wound up with an 8-4 record.

“We dealt with a lot of injuries to key positions last year throughout the season,” the Tigers coach said. “During a stretch of the year, we had our tight end Qua Boyd out for four games, Harry Satterwhite missed a game and tore his ACL; he came back and played with a torn ACL the rest of the year. There were a lot of key injuries that popped up and our guys had to deal with the adversity that came with that.”

UWA will try to dodge injuries in the 2019 season, which kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, in a home game against Limestone.

Alabama NewsCenter: What is the outlook for this season?

Brett Gilliland: I like where we are offensively. We’ve got nine starters returning and a quarterback we’ve got to replace. That’s the biggest question mark. We’ve got all five offensive linemen up front plus a few additions for added depth. We’ve got several starters returning but a lot of new guys who have to come together.

ANC: What is the strength of this year’s team?

Gilliland: Really, offensive line and defensive line. Up front is always where it begins, but I feel like this year more than any other year we really have the strength of our team there, which is really a good thing. That’s what we gear for. That’s what we want. We feel like with the guys returning on both sides of the ball, things can start there and be a positive.

ANC: Who are your team’s standouts?

Gilliland: Starting on offense, Call Dyer and Brandon Anderson, because they’ve played so much football and they’ve started so many games here in their career. They’re our center and right tackle. And then our slot receiver Christian Saulsberry and our tight end Qua Boyd. They have to be positive influences for us; they’re older guys and they’ve made a bunch of plays for us, so we’re relying on them. Defensively, Jordan Jones has to step up and be a leader. He’s a good player for us (at defensive end), but he just needs to step up into a good leadership role among some others on the defensive side of the ball.

ANC: What game do your fans have circled on your schedule?

Gilliland: Valdosta State is our first conference game. They’re the defending national champions. We go to them, so obviously any time you’ve got the defending national champion on your schedule, it’s one your fans should circle. And they just got picked to win the conference again.

ANC: What is your lingering question?

Gilliland: It’s at the quarterback position. Harry Satterwhite was our quarterback the last couple of years. It’s all about who’s going to step into and fill those shoes. Jack McDaniels is a guy who just transferred here in the spring and Jacob Murphree – he’ll be a redshirt sophomore – has been here the past couple of years. They’ll battle it out. There’s no clear-cut starter right now.

Download or print a complete schedule of all 15 Alabama college football programs, including West Alabama, here.

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