USA TODAY Sports
Landon Collins will get plenty of playing time in 2013 with the departure of Robert Lester.
Aside from the offensive line, the secondary is biggest question mark heading into next season for Alabama. At times last season, the secondary was the team's weakest link, and now the Crimson Tide's shutdown corner, Dee Milliner, and secondary leader, Robert Lester, are no longer on campus.
Lester's absence is not as bad with Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix returning to head the secondary. Clinton-Dix progressed through the ranks last year to become a starter and key piece to a suffocating Alabama defense. He accounted for five interceptions in 2012 and solidified himself as an elite pro prospect for 2013.
Then there are players like Vinnie Sunseri, Landon Collins and Nick Perry. All four of Alabama's safeties made big plays in the Crimson Tide's A-Day game, with Clinton-Dix and Sunseri scoring defensive touchdowns.
But of the three players battling for the second safety position, Collins has the highest ceiling. He should work his way into the No. 2 slot before next season's end.
But replacing Milliner and finding a third corner to come in for the nickel package will be a lot tougher for the coaching staff. Senior Deion Belue will likely become the No. 1 guy, but his inconsistent play last year has not made the job his to lose. Rising sophomore Geno Smith played well in his true-freshman season and could overtake Belue for the top spot, but only time will tell.
Saban and his staff experimented this spring by moving wide receivers Christion and Cyrus Jones and running back Dee Hart over to the defensive side of the ball.
Although Christion will see most of his reps with the offense, he could be called upon to help out in the secondary if others start to falter. But the change for Cyrus seems more permanent. He played decently well in the A-Day game, and with the receiving corps being as deep as it is, he should see almost all of his snaps coming at corner.
The secondary has work to do and little error for mistakes. The group faces Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas in Week 1 and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in its second contest of the season.