Alabama has some holes to fill in 2012 thanks to several stars exhausting their eligibility or departing early to the NFL. That's a good problem to have, considering most of those players were heavily involved in bringing two crystal footballs to Tuscaloosa, and their replacements are nearly as talented.
While the primary focus during Alabama's fall camp will be on rebuilding the defense, the wide receiving corps is also getting a face lift after Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks moved on.
The battle for playing time at wide receiver lost one of its competitors on Thursday, when Nick Saban revealed to TideSports.com that Chris Black will likely miss the season with a shoulder injury suffered during Sunday's practice.
"Some of you probably saw it," Saban said. "The injury will require surgery and we expect that Chris will be out three or four months."
Black had a 61-yard performance in Alabama's A-Day this spring. The 5'11", 175-pounder was the No. 4 wide receiver in the Class of 2012 by 247Sports.com. He enrolled in January and was vying for time to become one of Alabama's downfield threats in 2012.
Losing Black hurts. Even though he was a freshman, he was impressive this spring and was in contention for playing time.
But the cupboard isn't bare.
Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell will likely emerge as quarterback A.J. McCarron's primary targets, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones will also be in the mix, and Saban praised the work of fellow early enrollee Amari Cooper at SEC Media Days in July.
"I think Amari Cooper is a young guy who is a freshman who came in at mid-semester who showed some ability and talent to make some plays," Saban said.
The reason Alabama is on the brink of becoming a modern-day dynasty is due to the depth that Saban has been able to amass in Tuscaloosa. You're seeing that this season.
Most teams wouldn't be able to withstand the loss of so much talent in one offseason, but Alabama's roster is so littered with talent across the board that there's no such thing as a "rebuilding year" anymore.