As the time draws closer and closer for the kick off of the 2010 college football season, many questions roll around for every team. For USC fans, you wonder if Lane Kiffin can refill the huge shoes Pete Carroll left behind.
If your a Florida fan you wonder the same thing, except it's whether Brantley Gilbert can refill the shoes of Tim Tebow. For Ohio State fans, you wonder if Jim Tressel can make it to the national championship and actually win it.
Now for you Alabama fans. You wonder if Nick Saban can lead the Crimson Tide to a repeat national championship. For the fans whose favorite team belongs to the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10, Big East, Mountain West, ACC, or any other conference, you ask yourself when the SEC will stop dominating college football.
None of those questions can be answered, except for the last one: never.
Despite all these questions, every team, fan, and coach would all agree that one of the main factors to having a successful team is having a team leader on both sides of the ball. With the Crimson Tide being the defending National Champions, having a team captain is especially important.
Offense: Greg McElroy
Greg McElroy has the most important position on the field and that is quarterback. Being a quarterback is a lot more than handing the football to your running back or making perfect passes. Being a quarterback also requires the ability to lead a team through the tough parts of the game, and keeping everyone in order. Greg McElroy has more pressure on him than any quarterback in the nation.
That being because he has not lost as a starting quarterback since the eighth grade and because he leads the way for the defending national champions. Greg McElroy had his rough spots in the 2009 season, but he played under pressure and made plays when it mattered most.
Greg McElroy has matured greatly since last season and realizes the potential the Crimson Tide has for next season. " We,ve got the potential to have another special season," says McElroy."Our offense should be a lot better." McElroy has all the keys to be not only a great quarterback, but a great leader.
Honorable Mention: Mark Ingram
Mark Ingram is the first Heisman winner in Alabama football's storied history. With him only being a sophomore when he fulfilled this great achievement, that means the pressure builds for him to be a great player and win it again. When Tim Tebow won it as a sophomore, you did not see him have a better season then he did that season. Mark Ingram has the keys to be a great leader just like McElroy. The only difference is Ingram would rather lead the team with his skills on the field.
Defense: Dont'a Hightower
Dont'a Hightower is by far the leader of this defense. Hightower fills in the shoes of linebacker Rolando McClain who was voted team motivator last season. Hightower knows that he has to lead his defense to be just as good as last year's squad.
"If our defense can be anything like last year's," says Hightower, "Then we'll be very, very hard to beat." It is that mentality that Hightower has to have the whole season. He is going to want to be the best on that field since his season was cut short last year due to a devastating injury.
"I'm back to 100 percent," said Hightower. Many Alabama fans hope he is back to normal because he will HAVE to be the leader of the defense due to their losing nine starters.
Honorable Mention: Marcell Dareus
Marcell Dareus is arguably the most powerful defensive lineman in the country right now. He's had some trouble with an agent, but Dareus has apparently proven that he has evidence showing he broke no rule. If Dareus can stay out of trouble with the NCAA and keep pushing on the opponent's offensive line with his fire and intensity, he will be the team leader.
Now, every team has a team leader. Will the team leaders for the Crimson be any of the four I mentioned, no one knows. No one knows because anybody has a chance to become a breakout star.