2013 Alabama Spring Football Analysis
2013 Alabama Crimson Tide ...
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Why To Be Excited ... Remember, last season was supposed to be the rebuilding campaign. While the team had its problems once the schedule started to toughen up – struggling against LSU and Texas A&M before finishing with the fight against Georgia – everything obviously turned out okay. With yet another phenomenal recruiting class on top of past tremendous hauls of talent, it really is a case of Next Man Up in several spots. While the running game shouldn’t struggle, the passing game should be even more dangerous and more effective after leading the nation in passing efficient. AJ McCarron is a legitimate pro prospect and Heisman candidate with two national titles under his belt, and now he has a loaded receiving corps to throw to with Amari Cooper, Kevin Norwood and Christon Jones all back.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 Virginia Tech (in Atlanta)
9/7 OPEN DATE
9/14 at Texas A&M
9/21 Colorado State
9/28 Ole Miss
10/5 Georgia State
10/12 at Kentucky
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/16 at Miss State
11/30 at Auburn
The defense shouldn’t take any sort of a step back helped by the return of linebackers Trey DePriest and Adrian Hubbard including several stars in the secondary. Again, with the talent level waiting in the wings, losing a superstar corner like Dee Milliner or a defensive tackle like Jesse Williams doesn’t matter, but …
Why To Be Grouchy ... Yes, it’s Alabama and there are always more NFL talents where the old ones came from, but you don’t get better by losing Chance Warmack, Barrett Jones and D.J. Fluker off the offensive line. Cyrus Kouandijo might be the first lineman taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, and guard Anthony Steen – a one man wrecking crew in the BCS championship – will play on Sundays, but the offseason will still be a fight to find the right combination. Remember, last year it was the big move of Jones kicking inside to center, but that was nothing compared to what the coaching staff has to figure out this year. On the other side of the ball, losing Jesse Williams as the anchor up front is a bigger deal than many will admit.
What Needs Working On ... Being ready to roll out of the box. There wasn’t much of an issue destroying Michigan in last year’s season opener, and if everything is working right, beating Virginia Tech might not be a problem to kick of this year, but next up is a trip to Texas A&M with Ole Miss lurking a few weeks later. Realistically, it’s a three game season against the Hokies, Aggies and LSU, with no Florida, Georgia or South Carolina to deal with from the East, but last season the Tide had problems against the three truly elite teams – with some due respect to Michigan – on the schedule giving up the most yards all year in the battles against Georgia, A&M and LSU. Those three games were dogfights because the respective quarterbacks were fantastic even with a steady and consistent pass rush. It just so happens that the three best quarterbacks on the slate this year are Logan Thomas, Johnny Manziel and Zach Mettenberger.
Non-Conference Games: Virginia Tech, Colorado State, Georgia State, Chattanooga
Games Against The East: at Kentucky, Tennessee
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 9-3
Likely Finish: 12-0
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Virginia Tech, at Texas A&M, Colorado State, Ole Miss, Georgia State, at Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU, at Mississippi State, Chattanooga, at Auburn
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: None
Schedule Analysis: Nick Saban doesn’t let his team take any game lightly, but if the Tide is 2-0, it’s going to take something crazy to not go 12-0 – or at least 8-0 before getting LSU. The season kicks off with a bang going to Atlanta to deal with a Virginia Tech team looking to rebound from a mediocre 2012, and then comes the revenge date against Texas A&M in College Station. Fortunately, there’s a week off before dealing with Johnny Football, and then the sailing is relatively smooth the rest of the way.
There’s no Florida from the East. There’s no Georgia or South Carolina, either. Instead, it’s Kentucky and Tennessee as part of a run of six home games in the next seven after facing A&M. The lone road game is at UK with Colorado State, Ole Miss and Georgia State before and Arkansas and Tennessee after. And then comes the week off and then comes the build up for LSU. Closing out with two road games in the final three weeks would normally be tough, and it still might be if Mississippi State and Auburn get their acts together and turn things back around. It’s okay to already start rolling your eyes at how Saban will play up how Chattanooga has to be taken seriously the week before the Iron Bowl.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Tide are loaded and ready for a run at a third straight national championship, but it's not going to be a walk in the park. Losses on the offensive line - center Barrett Jones, guard Chance Warmack and tackle D.J. Fluker - are going to be bigger than it might appear, and while T.J. Yeldon leads a strong young group of running backs, not having Eddie Lacy will hurt. The defensive line could miss unsung rock Jesse Williams on the nose, and even though there are always great players
waiting in the wings, not having Dee Milliner or Robert Lester in the secondary could be a problem. It's nitpicking for the nation's No. 1 defense, but getting more plays behind the line would be nice.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Running back. When you crank out NFL quality backs like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, it's easy to pique the interest of the star running back recruits. Derrick Henry is a massive back who could project into a whale of a linebacker, while Tyren Jones is a dangerous speed option.
Not fearing a little competition, Alvin Kamara spurned Georgia on
Signing Day to join the pack. Robert Foster is an NFL-caliber receiver, while tight end O.J. Howard is a mortal lock to play at the next level.
Defensive end Jonathan Allen is a superior pass rushing prospect, while JUCO transfer Leon Brown could step in somewhere on the offensive line right away.
Dee Liner made a great class phenomenal, but it was the signing of No. 1
defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson out of Texas and top middle linebacker
Rueben Foster away from Auburn that took the Tide haul to a whole other
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
3. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Tide loses plenty of good defensive starters, but there are more waiting in the wings. The stockpiled depth after years of great recruiting classes is amazing, but it would be nice if a stud No. 1 receiver could come in and take over a big role early on. The Tide needs a boost for the receiving corps after the start of the last few classes for the defensive side, and the stars appear to be coming.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 5. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. With yet another phenomenal class, the rich get richer
... while also sticking it to Auburn with OT Cyrus Kouandijo verbaling to the Tigers and signing with the Tide. The receiving corps is awesome with 6-4 Marvin Shinn and 6-2 Danny Woodson bringing the size, and Bradley Sylve providing the speed. Ha’Seaon Clinton-Dix might be the nation’s best safety prospect, and Trey DePriest is Scout.com’s No. 1 ranked middle linebacker, but the key to the class could be up front on defense with JUCO transfers Quinton Dial, a 6-5, 310-pound future NFL draft pick, and 6-4, 340-pound Jesse Williams, ready to clog the inside. Xzavier Dickson fits the Bama scheme perfectly at one end, and Jeoffrey Pagan
should be a strong pass rusher with a little bit of time.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 5. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Defensive backs.
How good is Nick Saban and his staff when it comes
to recruiting? The Tide didn't have a ton of needs
with so many great classes brought in over the last
few years, and the monster class that capitalizes on
the national title is supposed to come in next year,
but that doesn't mean that several top players
available this season didn't want to come wear the
Crimson uniform. Phillip Sims is by far the most
talented quarterback prospect the Tide has had in
several years, and the receiving corps will be
loaded with DeAndrew White, Ronald Carswell, Blake
Sims and Keiwone Malone would all be No. 1 targets
at just about anywhere else. The defensive backfield
is amazing with the best class in America led by top
corner prospect Demarcus Milliner and big-time
safety Jarrick Williams. Johnavon Fulton has NFL
corner speed and JUCO transfer Dequan Menzie could
see time immediately.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 2. That Class Was
Heavy On ... linemen. Nick Saban and his staff brought in yet another loaded class that is among the best in the country with RB Trent Richardson leading the way, but the bulk is up front. From JUCO transfer James Carpenter, who might get a starting spot on the offensive line right away, to Darrington Sentimore, Chris Bonds, and Anthony Orr, who’ll load up the defensive front, the Tide secured the lines for the next several years.