26 July 2008
| Milton Talbert - #90 – DE – 6-3 – 252 lbs – Hattiesburg, MS – Hattiesburg HS – 1 Varsity Letter
2008 will mark Milton’s 3rd season on campus. As is the case with many other current players, this season might be a 'now or never' type of year for him. Given the level of talent being brought into the program, starting positions and playing time are no longer going to be inherited by the oldest player at the position. More and more true and redshirt Freshmen are going to be ready to play, and if the returning guys have not progressed, they will sit.
The biggest obstacle right now for Milton is size. At 252 lbs. he is considerably underweight for a Defensive End in Nick Saban’s
3-4 defense. It was ideal size for a Defensive End under Joe Kines’
4-3 defense, and that adjustment has been tough. He has a reputation for being one of the hardest working guys on the team in the weight room, so it would not be a surprise to see that weight higher once “official” numbers are released on that.
Defensive End is a thin position for the Tide, with only 4 scholarship players with experience returning to either End spot. While there could be as many as 6 true or redshirt freshmen practicing at the End spots at the beginning of fall camp, Milton should be ahead of that group based on experience.
As I said above, however, with the talent level of those incoming guys, experience alone is not going to win a spot in the playing rotation. I used the phrase “now or never” above, and that’s possibly unfair to say about someone in their Sophomore season. But for Milton, if he is unable to work his way into the rotation in a year when there is virtually no experienced depth, the chances of him being able to do so when there is experienced depth will be slim.
He entered the spring as the #2 Left Defensive End behind Bobby Greenwood
, but failed to hold on to that spot, as Sophomore Alfred McCullough
made the move from Nose Guard to End and closed out the spring ahead of Milton – at least based on their playing time and performance in the A-Day Game.
For players who are in Milton’s position, the season prior to the Sophomore year is the one most likely to see a transfer. Considering that he has already used his redshirt, after sitting out one year for the transfer, he would still have 2 years to play at a new school. If he senses that playing time will be tough to come by, this would be the time for him to take advantage to a similar opportunity as Zach Schreiber
, who transferred prior to the 2008 season. Given that he was signed by a previous staff, to play in a different system, it would be tough to blame him for seeking another opportunity.
At this point in time, this close to the season, a transfer is unlikely. So it appears as though Milton has chosen to stick things out and battle for playing time. Given his reported effort in the weight room, it doesn’t surprise me to see him choose the tougher road. Also given Bama’s lack of depth along the defensive line, that decision could very well be rewarded with a real opportunity to see game action.