Alabama’s Nick Saban faces spring reload as Crimson Tide set sights on returning to College Football Playoff

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National championships are expected for Alabama, and simply put, the 2022 season was not a huge disappointment. The Crimson Tide missed the College Football Playoff for the second time since starting in the 2014 season and failed to win the SEC West for the first time since 2019.

It’s safe to say that the 2023 season is a “revenge tour” for Nick Saban’s team, and the last thing the college football world wants to see is an angry Crimson Tide.

The foundation of that circuit will be established this spring, and there is no shortage of ideas because the Tide is replacing several stars who are headed to the NFL, as well as the two coordinators. Let’s take a look at what those changes are and how Saban might deal with them going forward.

Offseason changes

Gone are offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Pete Golding, who both left after the season and were replaced by Tommy Rees and Kevin Steele, respectively, to spark provided on both sides of the ball.

Rees, a former Notre Dame quarterback, had great success in six seasons as a Fighting Irish assistant – first, as the team’s quarterbacks coach and then as the OC. Last season, after the season-ending shoulder injury to Week 1 starting quarterback Tyler Buchner, Rees made adjustments on the fly by making a strong effort to run the ball for the rest of the season. a year The pivot paid off. Notre finished 21st in the nation in rushing attempts per game at 40.92. Compare that to Alabama’s 35.15 attempts per game — 82nd in the nation — and it’s clear that Saban is ready to refocus the unit to take the pressure off his quarterback.

Speaking of quarterbacks, the Full is replacing 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. The top candidates are dual-threat Jalen Milroe and former five-star tight end Ty Simpson. Saban’s decision will likely be an indication of just how much he wants to return to a run-focused offense.

This will be Steele’s third time in Tuscaloosa, and there’s no doubt that experience was a factor in Saban’s choice to go back to an old friend. Steele spent last season with Miami after a five-year stint leading Auburn’s defense.

Names to contact

  • Ty Simpson, quarterback: The former star at Westview High School in Martin, Tennessee, was the 29th overall prospect in the Class of 2022. He went 4 of 5 on pass attempts for 35 yards in four games this season this time, although none of those five passes were in meaningful situations. However, Saban clearly had high hopes for Simpson by putting him in game situations while preserving his redshirt season. Simpson has the pro-style qualities that could make him a star, and he’s mobile enough to be honest and defensive. If Saban is ready to go “old school”, Simpson may win one of the most interesting quarterback competitions in the country.
  • Dallas Turner, linebacker: Turner played the role of Will Anderson Jr.’s sidekick over the past two years, but now the spotlight is on him after Anderson jumped to the NFL. Turner, a junior, finished second on the team with four sacks and tied for third with eight tackles for loss last season. Can the 6-foot-4, 242-pound former five-star prospect get the job done without Anderson’s distraction?
  • Joe MacLellanrunning back: McClellan will be one of two favorites to win the No. 1 running back spot along with fellow senior Roydell Williams, though McClellan’s track record suggests he could be the player who sits atop his ‘ spring depth record. Why? His 111 carries last season shows he can handle more running attacking duties. McClellan and Williams can work well as a tandem — a “1A and 1B” situation if Rees so chooses — but it will be interesting to hear how McClellan is used from insiders lucky enough to watch practices .

Spring view

This is, perhaps, Saban’s most critical spring since he hired Lane Kiffin to run the offense before the 2014 season. So, the apparent shift in philosophy has created a huge mystery as to when the arrival of the Crimson Tide. Most people will not be able to see how Saban will handle this situation; however, there is enough talent to prove Saban at every position.

Unlike that 2014 season, however, the transfer portal could affect this team’s depth chart before the summer. After the A-Day match on 22 April, the second of the two transfer ports opens on 1 May. If Saban doesn’t feel like critical positions are filled by then, he has a great opportunity to fix those glitches through today’s college. Free soccer team.

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