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What’s Bama’s Big Issue? QB, WR, or No. 2 RB?
Alabama QB A.J. McCarron
Alabama QB A.J. McCarron
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 1, 2011


What’s Alabama’s biggest concern: quarterback, No. 2 running back, or receiver? Even with all the major losses on offense, are the expectations still national title or bust? The Tide will be in everyone's preseason top three, and could be No. 1, but there's lots of work to do. From the Scout publishers, here's the inside info on the key questions this spring.

Spring 2011 - Key Questions

Alabama

 
What's happening this spring season? Several Scout publishers provide their insider info on the key questions that matter to the real world of college football. Scroll down for the links to all the spring questions.

Q: What’s Alabama’s biggest concern: quarterback, No. 2 running back, or receiver? Even with all the major losses on offense, are the expectations still national title or bust?


From Kirk McNair, BamaMag.com … The big names missing from the Alabama offense are familiar ones -- tailback Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner; quarterback Greg McElroy, who led all QBs in the NFL's Wonderlic; wide receiver Julio Jones, who astounded pro scouts with his combine numbers while competing on a fractured foot. All are Alabama record-holders, and when you break a record at Alabama, you've surpassed some good football players.

Considering those losses, it may be a bit of a surprise that the biggest loss on offense is thought by some to be the one man who will be missing from the offensive line, James Carpenter. Carpenter came in from the JUCO ranks, replaced All-American Andre Smith at the critical left tackle position, and started in every game beginning with the season-opener in Bama's undefeated national championship season in 2009. All other starters in the offensive line, including all-star candidates Barrett Jones at right guard, William Vlachos at center, and D.J. Fluker at right tackle, return. In hopes of making the quick fix at left tackle, Bama went to the junior college ranks (Western Arizona) and signed Aaron Douglas, ironically a starter as a freshman at Tennessee in 2009.

Nevertheless, it is the glamour positions that will be most watched at Alabama this spring. Of the three positions -- quarterback, tailback, split end -- the nod for biggest concern has to go to the most important position, quarterback. In fact, no one even considers tailback to be in the equation. Trent Richardson was Ingram's back-up the past two years and is expected to be No. 1. The real question is which of a half dozen or so contenders will be No. 2, and it's almost certain to be Eddie Lacy, who had a big Capital One Bowl game against Michigan State.

Quarterback is a two-man race, but it's not a sprint. Alabama Coach Nick Saban has no interest in naming a starter until sometime next August. Why chance a disgruntled competitor deciding to transfer? A.J. McCarron earned the back-up job to McElroy during the 2009 season, even though McCarron was never forced to play, thus preserving a redshirt season. As a redshirt freshman last year he saw spot duty as a second-time-around back-up to McElroy. Most expect him to win the job. But redshirt freshman Phillip Sims, who is going through his second spring practice after entering Alabama in January, 2010, has all the tools and is expected to challenge for the job.

Alabama also has another true freshman in camp. Phillip Ely entered Alabama in January and will be the third quarterback. Bama is also working all-around athlete Blake Sims at quarterback for what Saban said is "insurance." Blake Sims is expected to end up at either running back or receiver.

Regardless of who wins the job at quarterback, split end, left tackle, or back-up tailback, look for Alabama to be among the pre-season favorites for the national championship in 2011. Ten starters return on a defensive unit that was close statistically to the 2009 national championship unit; placekickers and punter are back; and it's good to start building an offense behind a veteran line.

Saban has said that the spring will be spent on fundamentals, which tells us nothing. But he also said he was not satisfied with the Alabama pass rush in 2010. Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw was the MVP of the Capital One Bowl with five sacks, and Saban intends to add others to the defensive front to bolster the rush. The one to watch is junior college transfer Jesse Williams, a native Australian who is already building something of a legend among his new Bama teammates for his size (6-4, 340) and speed.

SATURDAY
- Is Arizona State Finally Going To Get Going?
- What’s Bama’s Big Issue? QB, WR, or No. 2 RB?
- Is Florida Ditching The Spread?
- What Is Oregon’s Attitude After The Auburn Loss?
- Is It Do-Or-Die Time At New Mexico?
- Has The Attitude Changed At Vanderbilt?

FRIDAY
- Who’s REALLY The Best QB Option At Penn State?
- Really, Will Jim Tressel Be Missed For 5 Games?
- Is Northwestern QB Dan Persa Going To Be Healthy?
- How Is Al Golden Doing Things Differently At Miami?
- Is West Virginia’s Offense About To Explode?
- Are The Tennessee Lines Going To Be Better?

THURSDAY

- Can Oklahoma State Still Rock Without Holgorsen?
- Will Navy Throw Even Less Without Ricky Dobbs?
- How Is Maryland Different Under Randy Edsall?
- How Is Cincinnati Different In Butch Jones, Year 2?
- Will Idaho Finally Have A Defense?
- Are The Tennessee Lines Going To Be Better?

WEDNESDAY

- And The Notre Dame QB Will Be … ?
- Is Fresno State Going To Keep Running?
- Will Louisiana Tech Be The New Texas Tech?
- Have The Ugly Bowl Losses Affected Arizona?
- Is Michigan’s Brady Hoke Starting From Scratch?
- Is QB Jordan Wynn Ready To Run The Utah Attack?

THURSDAY

- Can Oklahoma State Still Rock Without Holgorsen?
- Will Navy Throw Even Less Without Ricky Dobbs?
- How Is Maryland Different Under Randy Edsall?
- How Is Cincinnati Different In Butch Jones, Year 2?
- Will Idaho Finally Have A Defense?
- If Healthy, Is Robert Marve Purdue's QB?