College Football Preview: The 2014 Alabama Crimson Tide
2014 College Football Preview
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Overview: The Alabama Crimson Tide fell short of expectations last season with a loss to Auburn to prevent them from an SEC championship bid, and a loss to Oklahoma in a BCS bowl. Still, Alabama won double-digit games for the sixth straight season under head coach Nick Saban. However, given the way the season started and what the fans expect every year in Tuscaloosa, it was a major disappointment and a slice of humble pie.
Offense: Alabama has a chance to have probably its best offense it has had in quite some time. With a running back tandem of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, as well as wide receiver Amari Cooper, the Tide may be the most balanced team they’ve ever been under coach Saban. Yes, the loss of the leadership from quarterback A.J. McCarron is going to hurt, but it’s not like he was asked to carry the way. Alabama is still going to be a run-first offense and whoever replaces McCarron should be able to manage the game and allow the big boys to do all the work. Alabama is in great hands offensively and shouldn’t miss a beat.
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Defense: There’s no replacing linebacker C.J. Moseley, but there should never be any doubt on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to Saban and his staff. Since 2008, Alabama has had a Top 5 defense in the country. That isn’t going to change much as long as the same guys are coaching these talented players. A’Shawn Robinson is going to be the face of the defensive line after having 5.5 sacks last year as a freshman. Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster should hold down the fort at the second level and Landon Collins is more than ready to become the leader of a young secondary. Sure, it will take some time to learn the young faces on this side of the ball, but as usual the Tide will be as stingy as they come defensively.
Special Teams: Adam Griffith will replace Cade Foster at field goal duty. Griffith made one of three attempts last season. JK Scott will have the tall order of replacing punter Cody Mandell. Mandell averaged more than 47 yards per attempt a year ago.
Outlook: Kind of how it’s championship or bust for the New York Yankees each season, it’s pretty much the same way for the Crimson Tide. This team remains loaded with 5-star recruits and the coaching staff is arguably the best in the land. Anything less than an SEC title and national championship is considered a failure. There are some question marks with this team, but very few are as talented and can make the run at the crystal football the way Alabama can.