While much of the offense this season will be new to the starting lineup, opponents should no assume that this means they are any less talented. Blake Sims is gone, and he set a single season passing record during his time at Alabama. The top three wide receivers last year in Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, and Christion Jones are gone as well, as is the rusher T. J. Yeldon. Three of the five offensive linemen from last season are gone as well. The shining moment in all of this, however, is that Saban is a master recruiter and he has long anticipated this occurrence, He has a slew of capable young talent ready to come in and take over.
The one question does remain as to who will be the starting quarterback. The Tide brought in five possible quarterbacks to spring training, but still do not have one standout. Jake Coker appears to be the most likely candidate, but redshirt freshman David Cornwell will provide him with some stiff competition. Chris Black and Robert Foster, both former high school All-Americans, should be ready to take over at the wide receiver position, as will incoming freshman Calvin Ridley. Derrick Henry, all 6’3” and 242 pounds of him, will be back as a formidable threat at the running back position.
The offense might be a bit inexperienced for Alabama entering into this season, but the Defense certainly is not. The front seven is as deep, experienced, and as talented as it has ever been under Saban’s leadership. Starters A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, and Jonathan Allen will all be back. All three are big and powerful, yet highly mobile threats that force the spread offense of the SEC to think twice when coming up against them. Inside linebacker Reggie Ragland could have ended up in the NFL this season, but has opted to return to Alabama for his senior year. He had 95 tackles last season, and will be joined by Reuben Foster. The secondary was a bit sketchy last season, and they lose starting safeties Landon Collins and Nick Perry. There are quite a few vying for that position, however, so the drop off should not be noticeable at all. Look for Alabama to continue the process of shoring up its few holes on both sides of the ball in preparation for meeting the big guns of Auburn and Ohio State at some point in the post season. Most pick Ohio State early, but do not count out the Crimson Tide.
Courtesy of Bleacher Report