Now the real work begins for Shula as he needs to replace seven
fantastic starters from a defense that was among the best in the
game, has to find a steady starting quarterback, and needs to
quickly develop depth at just about every position. Meanwhile, the
two teams that tagged the Tide last year, LSU and Auburn, appear to
be just as good, if not better, while the tough early road
trips are at play Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee.
year's formula for the Tide worked to near-perfection. Don't screw up on
offense, get rock solid defense, and hope everything turns out right in
the end. The defense was unbelievable allowing a ridiculous 13 points in
the third quarter, but the coaching staff can't rely on the same sort of
production again. The offense has to start producing much, much more
needing better production on third downs, more big plays from the ground
game, and more points after averaging 21.9 points per outing.
The casual college football fan won't be shocked if Alabama is a ten-win
type of team again simply because of the brand name, Alabama is supposed
to be good, but winning double-digit games should put Shula in the mix for
coach of the year honors even though he has a layup of a home slate
(more on that in a moment). Bama is a year away from making an honest
run for the SEC title, but that doesn't mean this can't be
another successful season.
The Tide might have the easiest home schedule of any big team in
America, at least up until the regular season finale against Auburn.
Hawaii, Vanderbilt, UL Monroe, Duke, Ole Miss, FIU and Mississippi State
will all likely go bowling only if they have a ticket. Unless Bama falls
flat on its face, it has seven wins without breathing hard. That means
ten wins is a good goal needing to win three of the five tough tests
against Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and LSU on the road and the Auburn
game at home.
Ken Darby. While not spectacular, Darby is a steady runner who has a
chance to be the first Alabama runner to ever have three straight
1,000-yard seasons. He's a good power runner, but he's not used much
around the goal line with so many strong short yardage backs on the
roster. Don't expect him to bust off many big runs, and don't look for
double-digit touchdowns, but 1,500 yards isn't out of the question with
an improved and more consistent offensive line.
Juwan Simpson. The lone holdover from one of the nation's best
linebacking corps, Simpson returns for his third season on the weakside
and has to be the leader and top playmaker until the rest of the back
seven develops. He's not a big pass rusher, but he has good range and is
strong against the run.
to a successful season:
Senior DTs Jeremy Clark and Dominic Lee. The Tide succeeded last
year without an offense, but things will be better this year even with
new starter John Parker Wilson under center. The defense is another
story, and it desperately needs strong play from the team's two
300-pound tackles to have any hope of the production not completely
dropping off the map.
will be a success if ... Alabama wins nine games. The home slate is too light to shoot
for anything less, and an upset or two on the road will mean another
double-digit year. Expecting to be a major factor in the SEC West race
is asking for way too much considering all the new starters on defense,
but finishing second is a good goal.
Nov. 11 at LSU. Of course the Auburn game is the most important game of
the season, but a win over the LSU version of the Tigers might make the
following week's rivalry game a battle for the SEC West title. A loss at
LSU could mean a rough end to the regular season for the second year in
- Second half scoring: Alabama 132 - Opponents 43
- Sacks: Opponents 37 - Alabama 28
- Punt average: Opponents 42.4 yards per kick - Alabama 37.2 yards per
The Last Time
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Cotton Bowl vs. Texas Tech)
…missed a bowl game…2003
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Mississippi State)
…was shutout…2000 (Southern Miss)
…scored 50 points…2004 (Western Carolina)
…won a conference title…1999 (SEC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never (Brodie Croyle set the school record with
2,499 yards in 2005)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Kenneth Darby)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1993 (David Palmer)
…had a first-round draft choice…2000 (OT Chris Samuels and RB Shaun