If there is such a thing as a "rebuilding year" in Tuscaloosa these days, 2012 is it.
The Crimson Tide are replacing a Heisman finalist at running back, two star linebackers, two star cornerbacks and an All-American safety. But the position of need that has flown under the radar this offseason is wide receiver.
There's a reason that it has flown under the radar—the Crimson Tide will be just fine.
Alabama's top four receivers from last season are gone, and that includes wide receivers Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks. Kenny Bell enters the season as Alabama's most seasoned wide receiver with 281 receiving yards...for his career.
Bell and Kevin Norwood are expected to be this year's version of Maze and Hanks. Bell has deep threat potential, but his relative inexperience combined with Norwood's 11 catches for 190 yards last season has the Tide looking for answers.
Despite being loaded with inexperience, the Crimson Tide receiving corps is confident heading into 2012, according to Chase Goodbread of TideSports.com.
"Me and Kenny have been looking forward to this," Norwood said. "We've waited, basically, three or four seasons now to be leaders."
Norwood certainly showed that he was capable of handling the responsibility on the game's biggest stage last season. He caught four passes for 78 yards in Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU in the BCS National Championship Game.
Behind those two, Christion Jones, DeAndrew White, Amari Cooper and a cast of others will be vying for playing time, all of whom are capable of emerging as threats.
But for Alabama, they may not have to.
Bell and Norwood, combined with the abilities of a bevy of pass-catching options at the tight end, H-back and running backs spots should provide Alabama the passing game that it needs of the Tide to be successful in 2012.