The 2011 edition of the Crimson Tide did not happen by accident. The defensive monster that was the best in the nation was a result of discipline, practice, training and coaching.
The same coaches responsible for the 21-0 shutout of LSU in the championship game will be responsible for developing the 2012 defense.
Nick Saban and Kirby Smart will collaborate on yet another top-10 defense, as they have every year starting in 2008.
So, no matter who ends up playing what position in the trenches, Saban and Smart will ensure that it's the best combination of pure skill that exists on defense. The question here is simply whether or not Lance Thompson will be as big on the linebacking front as he was on the recruiting front.
The new offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier, will be joining Saban in trying to put together one of the most potent Crimson Tide offenses in recent memory.
The war that is the game of football is won in the trenches, and it's fought mainly by the linemen. The only starter that isn't at least a junior is Cyrus Kouandjio, who starts at left tackle.
As far as the depth chart is concerned, training and practice are the only ways to beef up security on the offensive or defensive lines. There is no more recruiting to be done for the 2012 season, and the starters aren't likely to be kids that arrive in Tuscaloosa in the fall.
Scott Cochran is the mastermind behind the entire offensive and defensive lines. Cochran will metaphorically beat the crud out of these guys until they are solid masses of speed and skill that will outmatch their opponents on every snap.
The rest of the coaching staff will ensure that they outplay their opponents on every snap, but Cochran is the guy that will establish their physical dominance at the line of scrimmage.
With the coaching and training these players will receive, the new starters should be up to speed by the Missouri game. If not, the depth chart may be rearranged a bit. Athletes like Cyrus Jones and Eddie Williams may find themselves learning various lineman positions.