Alabama Football 2014 Spring Wrap Up
Strengths & Question Marks
Well, if you base Alabama’s strengths and weaknesses off the Spring game (which is a fool’s errand) you would have to say their strengths are the defensive line/linebackers and the weaknesses are the offensive line and quarterback. However, we’ve seen the defense dominate the offense in Spring games before and everything turned out alright. (see the 2011 Spring game).
I would say Alabama still have to be worried about their corners, who weren’t seriously tested in the Spring game. Saban said he expects Eddie Jackson back “early in the season” meaning they will be once again starting young and unproven corners in the opener. That alone should be enough to give anyone pause.
If, and that’s a big if, Jacob Coker lives up to the hype, Alabama will be fine at the QB position, which is good news for the wide receivers. I believe the offensive line will eventually be better than last year, even if they did lose two veterans in Kouandjio and Steen.
There is potential for a slew of breakout players this year. Along the defensive line— Jonathan Allen, DJ Pettway, and Tim Williams are likely the next great Alabama lineman. (And that’s not to ignore Da’Shawn Hand or A’Shawn Robinson).
Wide receiver Chris Black showed flashes of greatness in the Spring game. Landon Collins is likely Alabama’s next 1st round draft pick at safety. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Derrick Henry as a breakout player at running back.
Without knowing what Coker will do, the idea of Sims or Bateman being the starter in 2014 scares the gump out of me. If Coker lives up to his potential, this grade could be a B or even an A by season’s end.
Yeldon and Henry will be the best one/two punch in the country. Add in Drakes home run potential and you’ve got one of the most dynamic back fields Alabama has ever seen, which says a lot.
Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, Christion Jones, OJ Howard (TE), Chris Black, Cam Sims. Enough said.
Of course, the success or failure of Alabama’s talented running backs rely completely on how well the offensive line blocks in 2014. If we see a repeat of 2013 run blocking, I think Bama fans will be left very disappointed with the potential that was left on the field. 3rd and 1 use to be automatic in years past and that wasn’t the case in 2013. I expect to see some more shifting of the OL early on in summer camp, especially once Dominick Jackson arrives on campus.
I would say a starting five out of Dominick Jackson, Cam Robinson, Arie Kouandjio, Ryan Kelly, Austin Shepard, Grant Hill and Leon Brown should create a very good offensive line in 2014.
See comments above about how well the DL/LB played in the Spring game. The defensive line will get some help once Da’Shawn Hands arrives and we already saw good things from the young guys in Spring. My question about the LB’s is how well will DePriest play and can they effectively replace CJ Mosley?
DB: C+/ B
I still have very real concerns about our corners. Forgive me if the thought of Cyrus Jones and Maurice Smith starting against West Virginia makes me nervous. And though Geno Smith looked pretty good at Free Safety, he’s still inexperienced. If Eddie Jackson returns fully healthy and if Landon Collins and Jarrick Williams improve on their 2013 season, Bama may be OK in the defensive backfield.
I would say any Alabama fan who is expecting a championship this year should probably calm down and trust the process (that may be the most Saban thing I’ve ever said). There’s enough talent on this team to produce a national championship, but the same could be said for 2013.
There are just too many questions at corner, quarterback and offensive line to expect #16 this year. It could happen but don’t be too upset if this team loses two games. I know the schedule looks weak, but this Bama team has a long way to go to erase the memories of the Iron Bowl and Sugar Bowl.
Lyell Walker of Roll Bama Roll provided the information for our Alabama Football 2014 Spring Wrap Up. For more Alabama football information, commentary and analysis, you can follow Robert on Twitter @RollBamaRoll and @BammerRBR.