What Can We Expect from Alabama's Offense in 2008?
The Alabama offense was nothing to write home about in 2007. This year, I'm not so sure it will be different.
The Crimson Tide have a new offensive coordinator in Jim McElwain, who came over from Fresno State.
From watching spring practice, the Tide should throw shorter passes and run the ball more. This is good idea, considering John Parker Wilson's inaccurate play over the past couple of years.
The thing that Wilson brings to the table is experience and knowing what he's doing out there. The problem is that Wilson is nothing special. He won't hurt the team too badly, but he's not going to win games for the Tide single-handedly.
At running back, Terry Grant should be Alabama's main man, with some of the carries going to Glen Coffee. Again, there is good talent here, but nothing special. Grant could be electrifying out of the backfield in the passing game, however.
Both Grant and Coffee come with injury concerns, and that might be a problem down the road. However, it appears as if new offensive coordinator McElwain has a solid playbook, as Fresno State finished 14th in the country in rushing behind mid-major running backs.
Much like Alabama's quarterback and running backs, their wide receivers are nothing to write home about. That is, except for Julio Jones. If this superprep can step in and do the things he's capable of, he will BE the Alabama offense this year.
Both McCoy and Stover are good, solid receivers, but rarely make big plays and have little to no game-breaking ability.
Finally, the staple of a "good but not great" offense is a great offense line, which the Crimson Tide have. This O-line should be responsible for most of Alabama's success this season.
Andre Smith is the best blocker in the nation. Antoine Caldwell isn't far behind. The Crimson Tide should ride this unit's success all season long.
In conclusion, the Crimson Tide offense should be good, but not great again this season. Once Alabama can recruit a game-changing running back or quarterback, the sky is the limit. Julio Jones could become a star, if not this season then next.
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