Alabama Football: 5 Items on the Tide's Offseason Checklist
The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off of their second straight national title and are staring down the road to a possible third in 2013. The Tide have a few things that have to be accomplished first, but the possibility of another title looks good.
The Tide have questions on both sides of the ball, and it's going to be an intriguing offseason as the coaching staff looks to fill the voids left behind by the departing draft class.
Here is a look at the five things that must be attained to this offseason for the Tide to make a third run at the crystal ball.
Find a Solid No. 2 at Running Back
The Crimson Tide are heading into the spring with a solid starter returning to the backfield in T.J. Yeldon. Behind Yeldon is a host of talent, but there is no clear leader to become his backup heading into the offseason.
Kenyan Drake is a solid option for the Tide, but he has yet to prove that he can separate from the pack. Incoming early enrollee Derrick Henry will find himself in the mix this spring, as will Dee Hart, who is returning from injury.
Blake Sims and Jalston Fowler are two others that are currently on roster that could challenge for some snaps.
The Tide are welcoming in Tyren Jones, Altee Tenpenny and Alvin Kamara this summer to the backfield as well, so there is a ton of talent for the coaches to look through. Finding a No. 2 will be easy with the talent on the roster.
Spread the Ball to the Talent at Receiver
Amari Cooper was a rising star on the Tide offense last year, but there were a number of players that fell to injury that allowed that to happen.
Alabama returns a very deep receiver corps with guys like Cooper, Kenny Bell and DeAndrew White looking for playing time this fall.
Kevin Norwood is also a name that will be tossed in the mix this fall.
The Tide will also add one of the best receivers in the country this offseason when Robert Foster comes to campus.
This offense is developing the passing game more each year, and that should help Alabama get the ball to the host of talent that will line the receiving corps next fall.
Replace Milliner and Lester
Alabama is in a tough spot heading into the new year in the secondary. The Tide have a lot of talent that is layered throughout the lineup, but replacing the playmaking ability of Dee Milliner and Robert Lester will be tough.
Both have been integral parts of the Alabama defense over the past few years, so finding guys to fill their shoes won’t be easy.
Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix should be a solid answer for Lester, but finding a starter to replace Milliner won’t be as easy.
Guys like Bradley Sylve, John Fulton and Geno Smith will battle for the position. This will be a drop-off point for the Tide defense, but the losses of Milliner and Lester can be overcome.
Rebuild Offensive Line
The Alabama offensive line was one of the most dominant units in the country last year.
Heading into 2013, the Tide will have to replace three starters along the front, including team leader Barrett Jones.
The Tide will say goodbye to three draft-worthy players and hope to not see a drop off this spring.
Austin Shepherd, Ryan Kelly and Chad Lindsay are the early names to watch, but there is a lot of time left between now and the end of August.
Alabama has the talent. Now the program has to find the right chemistry up front to plow through the SEC and make another title run.
Implement More of the Nussmeier Offense
Doug Nussmeier came to Alabama from Washington and brought with him an innovative offensive system.
Last year, it showed how promising it could be with AJ McCarron tossing for 2,933 yards, 30 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
The offense also introduced some new ground game looks, and that helped put two 1,000 yard rushers on the field for Alabama.
This year, look for more spread schemes to be run by the Alabama offense. The no-huddle has also become a recent addition, and it should be expanded on this offseason.
The Tide offense will continue to get more explosive as Nussmeier adds his touches to the attack.