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Alabama Football: Biggest Question Marks for Defending Champs

Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon (4) runs with the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Alabama won 42-14.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Eric GuyCorrespondent IIIOctober 29, 2016

It is no secret that college football has belonged to the Alabama Crimson Tide for quite some time. And after the spectacle the team put forth against Notre Dame in the 2013 BCS National Championship, the Tide will once again be expected to dominate the college football landscape during the coming season.

While Alabama always adds a boatload of young talent to the already NFL-ready roster it possesses, there are the inevitable questions marks that exist heading into the new campaign.

                                                                                         

Can the Offensive Line Perform at a High Level?

For years, Alabama’s running backs and quarterback A.J. McCarron have prospered because of the brick wall that was installed in front of them.

With three standouts—Barrett Jones, D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack now in the NFL, will the Tide offense be able to dominate with a re-tooled offensive line?

Certainly, one would choose yes. After all, Nick Saban is running the show, and everybody knows that if anyone can replace former stars and produce a new batch of them, it’s him.

Likewise, Cyrus Kouandjio, who started all 14 games at left tackle for the Tide last season, will be protecting McCarron’s blind side yet again. Also, senior guard Anthony Steen will be back as well.

Thus, like it always has been, the Tide have experienced linemen who will lead the way. Judging by the success the line has enjoyed in the past, nothing will change.

 

Will the Running Game Be Explosive Again?

It would be a bit of a reach to assert that the Tide will have two running backs go for 1,000 yards rushing like last year. However, we should expect the backs to put in work.

T.J. Yeldon—who rushed for 1,108 yards last season—will be ready to do damage on the ground. 

Likewise, Alabama has four of the nation’s most highly recruited running backs in Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny.

At 6’3”, 238 pounds, Henry should be a prevalent fixture in Saban’s offense due to his size and blistering speed.

 

Will McCarron impress?

McCarron is one of the best game-managing quarterbacks in all of college football. Last season, McCarron amassed 2,933 yards while completing 67.2 percent of his passes.

Although things will be vastly different up front for the Tide offense, the weapons on the outside are still in abundance.

Plus, the one-two punch of Amari Cooper and Kenny Bell will cause headaches for defenders throughout the 2013 campaign.

With a bevy of weapons returning, expect McCarron to make things happen yet again for the Tide.

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