The 2008 Bowl Season hasn't even commenced and already there are questions about Alabama's ability to maintain consistency relative to overall records in the 2009 season.
If you must ask, you haven't been doing your homework.
A lot of people are worried about the 2009 season. They question the quarterback situation, the offensive line, and the defense. I must ask...why?!
Let's start from the top, shall we?
John Parker Wilson had a great year in 2008.
He was only sacked 17 times, and he would've been sacked twice that much if not for his ability to make smart decisions. That kind of play can only come from experience, and that will surely be missed.
Not to mention that J.P. has broken every passing record at Alabama, passing the likes of Bart Starr, Kenny Stabler, Brodie Croyle, and the one and only Joe Namath.
Greg McElroy has shown dramatic improvement. The sophomore out of Southlake, Texas had his first touchdown pass during the Auburn game, and it was a beauty.
That one play put a smile on my face and made me much more comfortable knowing he was going to replace J.P.
In addition, don't forget the, now, redshirt freshman Star Jackson and 2009 recruit prospect A.J. McCarron. Both were four-star recruits and have amazing strength and durability.
Dare NOT worry the quarterback situation. It will be just fine, if not better.
Running Backs & Wide Receivers
Absolutely nothing. No RB or WR losses due to graduation.
Granted, Nikita Stover will be gone for the '09 season, but he only had five receptions with one touchdown in 2008. All other receivers and RB's will be back for the 2009 season. 'Nuff said.
The biggest loss in 2009 with be at tight end. Travis McCall and Nick Walker will be gone.
Coach Nick Saban has shown love for his TE's throughout the 2008 season—mixing up TE and WR passes to throw off the opponent's secondary.
McCall and Walker combined for 36 carries for 351 yards and two touchdowns.
For the 2009 season, Chris Underwood and Preston Dial are the depth men at this position and only Dial has actual game experience. Even worse, Dial has only caught two passes for a combined 29 yards. So, speculation of performance will surely reign at this position.
Speculation reigned over the linebackers at the beginning of the '08 season, and look how well they did. With McElwain as the offensive coordinator, and Nick Saban wearing the pants, we have the cook to add the spices. The only question is, "Where do we find the meat?"
Where do I start? The widely considered "Best OL in the Country" will take major hits at the end of the 2008 season, adding to the uncertainty at QB. Antoine Caldwell and Marlon Davis will be gone, and many believe Andre Smith will leave for the NFL at the end of the 2008 season.
For the sake of argument, we are going to consider Smith to be gone, meaning three out of five offensive lineman are out. WOW!
Redshirt freshman five-star recruit Tyler Love, redshirt freshman four-star recruit Barrett Jones and Evan Cardwell are three outstanding lineman to fill a much needed gap at offensive line.
Although Caldwell, Davis, and Smith will sorely be missed, there is enough talent to provide protection for Alabama's next inexperienced QB.
If Andre Smith decides to stay one more year, that does nothing but add comfort to Alabama fans and to Alabama's next QB.
Alabama will lose Bobby Greenwood, an outstanding defensive lineman who assisted Alabama get 24 sacks in 2008.
Greenwood's backup is Lorenzo Washington. In 2007, Washington racked up 36 tackles (16 unassisted), four and a half tackles for a loss, and three sacks. Alabama's DL will be just as good as it was this year, if not better with the experience of Terrance "Mount" Cody, Brandon Deaderick, and Cory Reamer.
Absolutely nothing. No LB losses due to graduation.
All starters return for 2009 at linebacker; a position in question at the beginning of the 2008 season that now leaves no doubt. Alabama's LB squad assisted in having a +9 turnover margin during the regular season(Ranked 22nd nationally).
Again...absolutely nothing. No CB losses due to graduation.
Good ol' Javier Arenas, Kareem Jackson, and Marquis Johnson will be back in 2009. All three combined for four interceptions, 75 yards in returns, and one pick six.
Not to mention Javier Arenas and his ability on special teams. Averaging 14 yards per punt return and three TDs. Not much more can be said about this guy.
Losing Rashad Johnson. The All-SEC safety led the team with five interceptions, 125 return yards, and two touchdowns.
Justin Woodall will return, and to fill the shoes of Rashad Johnson is a man by the name of Ali Sharrief. He played as a running back in the 2006 season, but Saban thought that his skill would best be put in the secondary.
Both the punter, P.J. Fitzgerald, and kicker, Leigh Tiffin, will return for the 2009 season.
So there you have it. Despite a lot of criticism coming from the press, Alabama's 2009 roster is shaping up to be a great one. Not to mention their 2009 schedule—having Virginia Tech lined up to be the season opener.
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