Spring practice starts on Thursday for the Tide, and TideSports.com has a list of ten things to watch for in the spring. Of those ten, I'm sure these three are the ones most of us will be focusing on:
Prince Hall has been suspended, Knight is also out indefinitely, and starters Darren Mustin and Keith Saunders both graduated. That leaves Rolando McClain as the only returning player with starting experience, and the last time we saw him the true freshman was playing with a broken thumb and dislocated shoulder in the Independence Bowl.
All eyes will be on Johns' switch to linebacker where he'll likely compete with sophomore Cory Reamer at the weakside spot. Just about every starting and backup job is up for grabs, which will continue into the fall with some very talented incoming freshmen who will be eager to earn playing time.
5. Stabilize the offensive line
Both guard spots are question marks with Justin Britt and B.J. Stabler no longer on the team. Junior Marlon Davis seems to be an obvious choice at one spot, but coaches need to make a decision on where to play Antoine Caldwell, and then hopefully keep him there.
Another important role will be finding a quality backup at both tackle spots, and incoming freshman Barrett Jones, Tyler Lover and John Michael Boswell could be in that mix in the fall. Overall, coaches will be looking for players like freshmen Taylor Pharr, David Ross, William Vlachos and Patrick Crump to make a push to move up.
8. Running back by committee?
Alabama, at times, had a three-headed backfield between Terry Grant, Glen Coffee and Roy Upchurch, but they all had offseason surgery. Grant led the way last season with 930 yards on 180 carries, only to be slowed by a sports hernia. Coffee had 561 rushing yards on 129 carries, but might still be limited after having shoulder surgery.
The biggest unknown is Demetrius Goode, who missed all of last season due to a knee injury. If he can play at full speed, the redshirt freshman could go into the fall as the top contender to be the every-down running back.
We'll start doing some coverage of spring practice tomorrow. I'll be doing a breakdown of the current roster by position and class, and OTS will take his best stab at a depth chart going into spring and will share his thoughts on what's going on during practice and so forth. 'Til then, our blatant attempt at indie cred comes courtesy of Centro-matic.