Alabama Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Alabama Crimson Tide
Posted Aug 8, 2006

Alabama Crimson Tide Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Finally – Is it just me or was Brodie Croyle an Alabama quarterback for nearly a decade?  Well, the decade concluded this past January, and the questions about this Alabama team, in particular, its offense, were already in order.  Most people would look at Croyle as more of an important cog, as opposed to the main engine, but he’ll definitely be missed.  With that being said, the pressure of ‘maintaining’ this Mike Shula coached offense falls on the shoulders of John Parker Wilson.  The former Hoover High graduate takes the reins full-time this fall and how he performs will drive this offense, and this team, all season long.  He’ll have some help with the skill players that are back in the fold, and the offensive line had a great deal of on-the-job training, so they should be much better in 2006.  Consequently, the big question becomes how much of the gameplan/offensive scheme do you give Wilson to digest and how different does the offense become with Wilson taking snaps, instead of a ten year senior (yes, I know, he was only there the allotted time, but it just seemed that long)?  He’s had good scrimmages this spring, and the thought is that he can grow in due time.  By the time the heart of the SEC season rolls around, he’ll be more asset than liability. 

2nd and Seven – What’s the best thing about freshmen? – Now, freshmen isn’t meant as being literal, more like rookies, but the best thing is that they become sophomores.  Or, experienced players.  That’s the case for the Crimson Tide offensive linemen.  Last year, this quintet wasn’t nearly ready to take on LSU and Auburn, but given the injuries the Tide suffered, they were forced to do just that.  Former QB Brodie Croyle was running for his life, but the lessons that this group of linemen learned, ones that were a disaster in 2005, will be instrumental in 2006.  This group, led by center Antoine Caldwell and tackle Kyle Tatum, is still young, but then again, youth can still be experienced.

3rd and Three – Lucky 7? – When Joe Kines took roll at the first spring practice, you’d have to excuse him if he felt a little lonely.  Outside of Juwan Simpson and cornerback Ramzee Robinson, the back seven is void of the guys that gave this defense its identity the past few years.  But, openings yield opportunity and Alabama isn’t a university that lacks talented linebackers and secondary types.  Unlike the offensive line, the new back seven has a number of juniors and seniors.  Unlike the offensive line, the new back seven doesn’t have many people with a lot of experience.  But, that’ll change…soon.

4th and One – Put another record on the turntable, DJ – The loss of Tyrone Prothro may have been the one thing that kept Alabama from making the SEC Championship game.  The flip side was that the injury opened the door for WR DJ Hall to make a big name for himself.  He became the leading receiver for the Tide last season, but in the Cotton Bowl, Hall was held out by Coach Mike Shula for disciplinary action.  In a game that could’ve used some offensive firepower, Hall had to sit and watch the Tide offense struggle all day long against a better than advertised Texas Tech defense.  He may not be a guy who garners All-American honors, but he’ll be JPW’s go-to guy throughout this season, while Keith Brown continues to stretch the field vertically.  Hall has to be a consistent 65 to 70 catch guy, and be the one guy that Alabama can count on in tough situations.

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