Areas of concern for Alabama heading into Week 1 against Utah State

·3 min read

Alabama returns the majority of its starters from a season ago. The only starters that departed for the NFL are Evan Neal, Jameson Williams, John Metchie III, Josh Jobe and Phidarian Mathis. During the offseason, the coaching staff made it a priority to replace those players with transfers.

The Crimson Tide will lean on Jahmyr Gibbs, Eli Ricks, Tyler Harrell and Tyler Steen to fill those roles. All are expected to play key roles on their respective side of the ball.

Last season, Alabama had no trouble offensively. With Heisman winner Bryce Young returning, the offense is expected to take even larger strides this season. It certainly won’t be easy to replace the departure of three starting wide receivers from a season ago declaring for the NFL.

Today, Roll Tide Wire will take a look at some areas of concern for the Crimson Tide heading into their Week1 matchup versus Utah State.

Instability along the offensive line

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Over the past few years, Alabama has had a lot of instability along the offensive front. It just seems like the offensive line unit hasn’t been able to gel whether it is due to injuries or coaching changes. Regardless of what the case may be, the coaching staff knows how important is to protect quarterback Bryce Young.

Offensive play-calling

(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

This wasn’t too big of a concern a season ago when Alabama had playmakers like Jameson Williams and John Metchie III. However, those guys have departed for the NFL. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien will be in charge of the offensive play-calling duties in his second year at Alabama. Last season, he relied exclusively on his playmakers. Now, he will have to accommodate after losing numerous key contributors. It is up to Bill O’Brien as to how much this offense can achieve this season.

Health in the secondary

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A concerning issue for Alabama this offseason has been the injuries to players in the secondary. LSU transfer Eli Ricks has dealt with a lingering back injury. Khyree Jackson has been dealing with a groin injury. Incoming freshman Earl Little Jr. has also been recovering from an injury as well. If the secondary can get healthy, this could be one of the best groups that Coach Saban has ever had. The biggest thing to keep an eye on with this group is the overall health, though.

Depth at inside linebacker

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Outside of inside linebackers Jaylen Moody and Henry To’oTo’o, no other inside linebackers have played meaningful snaps. This is merely from a visual standpoint as to how things would unfold if one of the starters were to go down with an injury. Depth has been an issue in years past at linebacker. It is key that defensive coordinator Pete Golding establishes depth at the linebacker position.

Entirely new skill group

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Alabama hasn’t had to completely rebuild a skilled group in a while. This year they will have to do just that. With three transfers: Jermaine Burton, Tyler Harrell and Jahmyr Gibbs transferring in, it will be something to keep an eye on. Also, tight end Cameron Latu is still working his way back from an injury.

Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire