Alabama Football: 2008 Season Preview

Tyler CarrCorrespondent IJune 8, 2008

The Alabama Crimson Tide have a long way to go to get back to the top, but Nick Saban is working on it.  Take a great core of returning players and add a top-rated recruiting class, and you begin to see the rebirth of football in Tuscaloosa.

Senior quarterback John Parker Wilson looks to leave his mark on the record books, but he needs one thing—wins.  His resume is impressive, but he needs a championship to be recognized as an elite quarterback.  Wilson threw for 2,846 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, but he also threw 12 interceptions.

Wilson’s top two targets are gone, so looking to step up is junior Mike McCoy,  who hauled in 28 catches for 207 yards last season.  Seniors Nikita Stover and Will Oakley will try to hold off an amazing group of freshmen—particularly Julio Jones, who looks to amaze 'Bama fans for years to come as the number one receiver in this year's recruiting class.

The ground game in Tuscaloosa will feature two main targets.  Sophomore Terry Grant looks to pick up where he left off last season, as he led the team with 891 yards and reached pay dirt eight times.  When Grant is not taking the handoffs, look for junior running back Glen Coffee to spend time in the backfield—Coffee added 545 yards last year.

On the field, Grant will be a speed type of back while Coffee will be a speed/power back.  The Tide will look to the ground as they bring along the young receivers and depend on the experience of their running backs.

Saban is known for having some tough defenses, and this legacy will continue with the development of linebacker Rolando McClain.  Being named Freshman All-SEC a year ago, he looks to be the cornerstone of this defense.

The linebacker corps will be made up of former running back Jimmy Johns, Brandon Fanney, and true freshman Jerrell Harris.  Harris was a highly recruited prospect out of Gadsen, Alabama.

The D-line returns two starters in Saban’s 3-4 scheme.  Big man Lorenzo Washington looks to stop the best that the SEC has to offer.  Bobby Greenwood and Brandon Deadrick appear to be the starters on the ends when they report in the fall.

The defensive backs will lean on team captain Rashad Johnson.  He was tied for the most interceptions in the SEC last year with six.  He was also a force against opposing ground games, coming up to lead the team with 94 tackles.  It looks like he will be joined at safety by Justin Woodall.  The corners will be Kareem Jackson and Javier Arenas.

Saban will lead the Crimson Tide into a opening week game in Atlanta to face the Clemson Tigers in an out-of-conference game.  Bryant-Denny Stadium will welcome the challenges of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and the Iron Bowl against Auburn to end the regular season.  The Tide travel to face Georgia, Tennessee, and defending National Champions LSU.