Tide gives Decatur’s Dean a shot
Ex-Red Raiders star moves to No. 3 QB for bowl game
For almost the entire season, Alabama’s Trent Dean probably knew more about the opponent’s plays than Tide’s.
He had to, considering that as the scout-team quarterback, he played a big role in helping Alabama’s first-team defense prepare each week for what it would see from the opposition.
But backup quarterback Marc Guillon quit the team in October. Then another backup, Jimmy Barnes, suffered a season-ended knee injury two weeks ago. Now Dean, a Decatur High graduate, has found himself as the third-team quarterback behind starter John Parker Wilson and second-stringer Jimmy Johns for the Crimson Tide’s appearance in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 28.
This means that Dean, a sophomore walk-on, has been calling what he describes as “Alabama plays.”
The only catch is that he’s not being asked to run anything too complicated.
“If we can just get the ball snapped, hand it off and get out of the way, we’ll be way ahead,” interim Alabama head coach Joe Kines said. “We’re not trying to send a rocket to the moon with him.”
The news that he might see some snaps at quarterback surprised Dean.
He had not played the position in a game since he won most valuable player honores in the 2004 North/South All-Star contest.
Dean heard the news Sunday at about 7 a.m.
His parents, Sammy and Jan Dean, were getting ready to go to church when Sammy read about the change in The Decatur Daily.
Sammy immediately told Jan and then sent a text message to Trent, who did not know that he had moved up the CrimsonTide depth chart.
“This is something I know he will appreciate,” Jan Dean said. “He’s just a great team player and has worked very hard.”
Dean played quarterback and defensive back for Jere Adcock at Decatur High, winning The Daily’s Class 4A-6A player of the year award as a senior in 2003.
He shined at quarterback, but also played well at defensive back.
During a 20-17 loss to national power Hoover his senior year, he returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown.
When he arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2004, Alabama defensive backs coach Chris Ball asked him to walk on.
He got into one game this year, playing one play on special teams in a 38-3 win over Florida International.
Before the shakeup at quarterback, Dean’s practices went something like this — some work on defense and then some time with the scout-team offense.
Now he’s spending some time with the Crimson Tide’s regular offense.
“I used to just look at the cards and see what (the other team)ran and run their plays,” Dean said. “As for our offense right now, I really just know about three or four running plays.”
As Kines alluded to, he is not looking for Dean to do anything spectacular.
The hope for Alabama is that Wilson can make it through the final game of the season without going down.
And if he can’t, then tailback Jimmy Johns will get a chance behind center, possibly fulfilling his goal of throwing a pass in a collegiate game.
Johns, a sophomore, played quarterback at Brookhaven (Miss.) High but has spent almost all of his CrimsonTide career at tailback.
But for Dean, it’s more about the chance of getting to see his name on the marquee in a prime spot for the Crimson Tide.
“He has had a tough road and worked hard and had a positive attitude,” Jan said.
“We’re glad to see this happen for him.”
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