Notes from the opponent: Breaking down Alabama with The Crimson White’s Austin Hannon

Evan Vieth, Senior reporter

The Daily Texan spoke with Austin Hannon, sports editor for The Crimson White, about the upcoming Alabama matchup and what to expect from the Crimson Tide on Saturday.


Daily Texan: What’s the general mindset in Tuscaloosa for this week’s game? Is there more hype than usual?

Austin Hannon: It’s a hyped up game for sure. There’s a lot of confidence, and I’m trying to warn people that this game will be closer than the experts think. A lot of people think Alabama will win by more than the moneyline, but I’m not quite there yet. Sarkisian knows Alabama. Alabama knows Sarkisian as well, but I think Texas will make this a game.


DT: Who should people be looking out for on this Alabama squad on Saturday?

AH: You have to start with Bryce Young, last year’s Heisman winner. Alongside Young, Will Anderson on defense could be a high pick in the draft. Middle linebackers Jaylen Moody and Henry To’oTo’o have become stable guys in the linebacker unit. One guy to look out for is Dallas Turner, a sophomore who has become the second best player on the defense. The defense is really, really good, and I think people will start to figure out that the defense will be the strength of the team this year, even with Bryce Young leading the offense.


DT: There’s a big connection between Alabama and Texas on the Texas staff. How do people in Tuscaloosa feel about Sarkisian and former Crimson Tide players such as Agiye Hall and Jahleel Billingsley?

AH: Sarkisian is a familiar guy that people like here. He was the offensive coordinator in 2020. That offense with Mac Jones was lethal; people like Sark. He became a big name in Alabama and is trying to do the same thing in Texas. As for Hall and Billingsley, you’re not going to find too many around here that are very big fans of those guys. They have so much talent, especially Billingsley, as a freshman playing for Sarkisian. But these guys didn’t fully work out. They don’t get mentioned too much around here unless it’s in a negative way.


DT: What’s the best case, worst case and most likely scenarios for Alabama on Saturday when they head to Austin?

AH: Best case is what pretty much every Alabama fan thinks is going to happen — from the opening kickoff, Alabama takes it to Texas by 28 points or so and walks out of Austin with a good road win. Worst case scenario is Texas does win, which I actually think is a possibility. We’ve seen times when the players aren’t focused, like last year against Texas A&M, which Saban obviously hopes doesn’t happen. Texas has the talent to upset this team, especially on its home field. Most likely scenario is that the game is back and forth in the first half. Alabama starts getting a bit afraid, but by the second half, Alabama takes it to Texas and wins by a couple scores, which is what I think will happen in the end.