Everything looks good so far. The players arrive today and begin practice tomorrow. I'll be down in Tuscaloosa some next week attending practice.
On offense they'll be getting used to a little bit of new terminology under Coach Nussmeier as McElwain moved on to take the head coaching job at Colorado St., but it's still Saban's offense.. and it's still Alabama. Pounding the rock with a stable of talented backs will still be what opponents are concerned with. This offensive line is probably one of the best we've had since Bear's teams of the 60's. Barrett Jones is one of the most intelligent and versatile offensive lineman we've ever had. He's already made All-American at 2 different positions (Right Guard and Left tackle) and will likely make it three at his 3rd different position this year as he takes over at center for William Vlachos. He's already graduated and currently working on his Masters Degree.
We lost a lot of experience at the receiver position with Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze moving on to the NFL, but didn't necessarily lose elite talent. The youngsters taking over are much more talented. Kevin Norwood dominated the Sugar Possum in the national championship game 1-on-1. We've gotten a lot of mileage out of the H-back position recently with Preston Dial, Brad Smelley, etc.... but this year whoever plays that position is going to be inexperienced.
Defensively there's going to be some growing pains in the secondary as inexperienced young players will be required to learn Saban's complex pattern-match schemes. At least one JUCO prospect will be starting at the CB position opposite Dee Milliner. Jesse Williams is bench pressing 600 pounds, running in the 4.75 range, and moving over from DE to play a little nose tackle. A lot of these kids haven't necessarily been "starters", but they've had plenty of experience in sub-packages.
The talent and depth all across the board is exceptional. Bama's backups would probably be ranked a top 25 team.
The starters and depth chart will look similar to this:
QB - A.J. McCarron / Phillip Ely / Blake Sims
RB - Eddie Lacy / T.J. Yeldon / Jalston Fowler / Dee Hart
H-back - Harrison Jones / Brent Calloway
TE - Michael Williams / Brian Vogler / Malcolm Faciane
L. Tackle - Cyrus Kouandijo / Kellen Williams / Austin Shepherd
L. Guard - Chance Warmack / Isaac Luatua / Chad Lindsay
Center - Barrett Jones / Ryan Kelly / Chad Lindsay
R. Guard - Anthony Steen / Kellen Williams / Arie Kouandijo
R. Tackle - D.J. Fluker / Austin Shepherd / Isaac Luatua
WR 1 - Kevin Norwood / Christion Jones / Amari Cooper / Danny Woodson / Chris Black
WR 2 - Kenny Bell / DeAndrew White / Marvin Shinn / Eddie Williams / Cyrus Jones
DE - Damion Square / Ed Stinson / Jeoffrey Pagan
DE - Quinton Dial / Lamichael Fanning / D.J. Pettway
NT - Jesse Williams / Brandon Ivory / Wilson Love
'Jack' Linebacker - Xzavier Dickson / Anthony Orr / Ryan Anderson
Sam Linebacker - Adrian Hubbard / Jonathan Atchison / William Ming
Will Linebacker - C.J. Mosley / Nico Johnson / Reggie Ragland
Mike Linebacker - Trey DePriest / Tana Patrick / Dillon Lee
CB - Dee Milliner / Travelle Dixon / Deion Belue / Geno Smith / Bradley Sylve
CB - John Fulton / Travelle Dixon / Deion Belue / Geno Smith / Bradley Sylve
FS - Robert Lester / Haha Clinton-Dix / Nick Perry
SS - Vinnie Sunseri / Jarrick Williams / Landon Collins
Kicker - Jeremy Shelley / Cade Foster
Punter - Cody Mandell
Long Snapper - Carson Tinker
Kick/Punt Returner - Christion Jones