2008 CFN Alabama Preview |
2008 Bama Offense
2008 Bama Defense |
2008 Bama Depth
2007 CFN Alabama Preview |
2006 CFN Alabama
pointed towards Alabama becoming a championship superpower some
time in the very near future.
Considering what head coach Nick Saban did with LSU, and with
some tremendous recruiting classes to build the foundation, it's
all there for the Tide to soon be in the yearly discussion of
SEC title contenders, which would put it in the yearly
discussion for national title contenders.
But in the meantime, it would be nice if there were more wins,
and it would be nice if Saban showed why he's getting paid like
Head coach: Nick Saban
2nd year: 7-6
13th year overall: 98-48-1
Off. 23, Def. 23, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 21
Best Alabama Players
2. C Antoine Caldwell, Sr.
3. S Rashad Johnson, Sr.
4. LB Rolando McClain, Soph.
5. WR Julio Jones, Fr.
6. CB Kareem Jackson, Soph.
7. QB John Parker Wilson, Sr.
8. RB Terry Grant, Soph.
9. NT Lorenzo Washington Jr.
10. TE Nick Walker, Sr.
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2008 Record: 0-0
Aug. 30 Clemson
Sept. 6 Tulane
Sept. 13 Western Kentucky
Sept. 20 at Arkansas
Sept. 27 at Georgia
Oct. 4 Kentucky
Oct. 11 OPEN DATE
Oct. 18 Ole Miss
Oct. 25 at Tennessee
Nov. 1 Arkansas State
Nov. 8 at LSU
Nov. 15 Mississippi State
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 29 Auburn
CFN Prediction: 7-5
2007 Record: 7-6
Georgia L 26-23 OT
Florida St L 21-14
Ole Miss W 27-24
Tennessee W 41-17
at Mississippi St
Auburn L 17-10
Dec. 30 Colorado W 30-24
has only come up with one season with fewer than three losses since
leaving Michigan State in 1999, and while he certainly appears to have
everything in the right direction, everyone can't get caught up in what
might happen down the road. Alabama needs to win now or else there will
be more pressure next year than there normally would be. The
much-maligned Mike Shula came up with a ten-win season in 2005, and this
year's team is far better.
It'll be tempting to look to the future after a 2008 recruiting class
with mega-talents like WR Julio Jones, OT Tyler Love, LB Jerrell Harris
and QB Star Jackson, but many of the top prepsters will be needed now.
Considering next year the offense will likely be breaking in a new
quarterback, star linemen Andre Smith (most likely) and Antoine Caldwell
will be off to the NFL, along with safety Rashad Johnson, and many of
the star recruits will still be a year away from shining, this is the
year to come up with results or else it might be 2010 before the program
really hits its stride.
And even then, it's not like Bama is assured of anything. One monster
Tide recruiting class isn't going to force Florida, Georgia, LSU,
Tennessee and Auburn to fold up shop. If anything, those teams are
reloading for the next two years as well. In the SEC, blink, and you
missed your chance.
More than anything else, for this year, there needs to be some
consistency. Jim McElwain is the team's third offensive coordinator in
as many years, the defense has major turnover in the back eight, and
there can't be gaffes like there were last year against UL Monroe. The
coaching staff is in place, the talent has been upgraded, and the
expectations are starting to build.
On the plus side, this team is better than last season when it lost all
six of its games by seven points or fewer. On the negative side, Bama
also won four games by six points or fewer including a battle against
Houston. Veteran teams win the closer games, and this one, while
talented, has gotten younger.
The bar is set higher in the SEC. Urban Meyer won a national title early
on at Florida. Les Miles needed just a few years to win a championship
at LSU. Saban doesn't have the horses that those two had, at least he
doesn't have the veterans like those two enjoyed, but he does have a
good enough team be in the thick of the SEC West title hunt. It's time
to start paying off.
What to watch for on offense: The tight ends. Until the freshmen
get their feet wet, the safety-valve tight ends will be the life-savers.
Travis McCall might be more of a blocker than a receiver, but he'll
catch more than the six passes he took home last year. Nick Walker is an
NFL-caliber tight end who should be featured as a go-to target to keep
the chains moving.
What to watch for on defense: The linebacking corps. The
spotlight will be on as it's Rolando McClain and bunch of other guys.
From Ezekial Knight's heart condition to Prince Hall's off-the-field
issues to Jimmy Johns' big off-the-field issues, the linebacking
corps has been gutted. True freshmen Jerrell Harris, Courtney Upshaw and
Don'ta Hightower could play big early roles if Baron Huber and Alex
Watkins can't get the job done.
The team will be far better if … the passing game is more
efficient. QB John Parker Wilson has had three offensive coordinators to deal with, and
it has shown as he hasn't been able to find any sort of consistent
groove in the passing game. He had good receivers last season, but it
just didn't come together. Now the idea is to up the completion
percentage, get the pace moving, and get the ball to the playmakers.
Wilson can do that.
There are non-conference yawners against Tulane, Arkansas State and
Western Kentucky, and home dates against Kentucky, Ole Miss and
Mississippi State will ensure a winning season and a bowl game. That's
where the fun stops. Clemson (played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta), at
Arkansas, at Georgia, at Tennessee, and at LSU are all losable, and
while the Auburn game is at home, that hasn't meant much of anything
lately. On the plus side, the nasty games are mixed in with the relative
layups, so there shouldn't be too much of a losing streak, if any. Of
course, it'll be hard to go on a big run of wins.
Best Offensive Player:
While he could
stand to be better in pass protection, the 6-4, 340-pound senior is the
type of blocker NFL franchises build around for a decade. He joins
center Antoine Caldwell to form the building blocks of what should be a
fantastic front five.
Best Defensive Player:
Rashad Johnson. The only question is where he plays. A breakout star at
free safety, leading the team with 94 tackles and six interceptions, he
could move to strong safety if needed. While he's not huge at 6-0 and
187 pounds, he packs a punch and has a great nose for the ball.
Key player to a
Senior DE Bobby
Greenwood. Shuffled between a tackle spot and the end, Greenwood needs
to finally bust out and become a regular in opposing backfields. Wallace
Gilberry and his 80 tackles, 10 sacks and 27 tackles for loss needs to
be replaced, and Greenwood has to show he's finally up to the task of
being a No. 1 type of pass rusher and playmaker up front.
The season will be a
... the Tide wins eight games and beats Auburn. After winning seven
games and losing to the Tigers for the sixth time in a row, Saban has to
show that things are taking another step forward before what should be a
terrific 2009. This is a stepping-stone season, but that doesn't mean
there can't be plenty of wins.
Nov. 29 vs. Auburn.
After losing six in a row, and with the big game at home following an
off-week, Alabama has to pull this win off. The fan base needs it, the
program needs it, and while Saban, of course, isn't on any sort of a hot
seat, he needs it or else the pressure will be ramped up 25-fold going
into 2009. Winning this would take a big monkey off the program's back.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Penalties: Opponents 99 for 863 yards – Alabama 59 for 453 yards
- Punt return average: Alabama 13.7 – Opponents 6.6
- First quarter scoring: Alabama 117 – Opponents 44