Alabama Football 2013: Don't Count On An Alabama National Title Just Yet

youts... - Michael Chang

There are two units that are the key to Alabama winning another national championship in 2013.

We are, as a fan base, confident. Obvious statement is obvious. I am not sure we have reached the level of arrogance achieved under the Bear but it is creeping awfully close. We not only believe ‘Bama will win every game, we damn well expect it. Case in point - RBR has previewed five games of the season, including LSU, and notched a win in all five. In fact, we see blowouts in four of the five.

Is this a product of our head coach who believes in the Process and we have all just fallen in line? Maybe it's a weak SEC schedule? Perhaps it's the natural progression for a fan base that has witnessed its team win three national titles in four years and whose team is yet again preseason #1? I don't necessarily judge those for feeling confident but perhaps we are counting our championships before they hatch?

Even with the question marks surrounding 2013 and with the news of our #2 corner being arrested, we believe and still expect 'Bama to win, and win convincingly.

But are we too confident?

A national championship is never a foregone conclusion and that is certainly true in 2013. Though Alabama has a favorable schedule and certainly enough talent, there are two groupings whose success or failure will determine the chances of obtaining #16,

Cornerback

Like it or not, corner is now a real concern moving forward. We don't know the punishment that will likely befall Geno Smith; he could be suspended for one game or maybe more. And there is no guarantee that when he does return, it will be as a starter.

How quickly we forget that inexperienced DB's under Saban, especially freshman (true or RS), who may look good in practice, always struggle to grasp the defense and replicate that success on the field. Yet all of a sudden we believe players who haven't seen the field when games were still in doubt or while the pressure was still palpable (or who haven't played at all) will be able to simply "plug and play". Forgive me if I have my doubts.

And if you dismiss the hamstring issue that Deion Belue is currently dealing with you're not paying enough attention. Hamstrings are one of those muscles that can be tweaked at any given time and for any reason. They can plague a player for months or even years (just ask Darrelle Revis). Belue has already been dealing with this since early in the summer and he re-tweaked it during camp.

Worst case scenario: Geno Smith doesn't return as a starter and Deion Belue's hamstring continues to bother him, limiting his range of motion, forcing ‘Bama to rely on completely unproven, inexperienced players.

How inexperienced? Well....

John Fulton played in 11 games last year but only started 1 game.

Bradley Sylve played in 12 games in 2012 but recorded no starts.

Cyrus Jones played in 11 games as a true freshman but saw no time as a DB.

Jabriel Washington played in 8 games in 2012

Jonathan Cook, Maurice Smith and Eddie Jackson all have ZERO game experience as a 'Bama DB.

Omg-zoom_medium

Offensive Line

Saban isn't happy and the moves up front didn't seem to work out that well in Saturday's scrimmage. This could be posturing by Saban but given that his grumblings have now spread into both scrimmages, this could be a sign that we have serious issues at offensive line.

I assume "the lack of push" refers to struggles in run blocking (which was expected), but the amount of sacks by the defense (6 total) lends to question marks in pass blocking, a perceived strength for this line. I like Arie Kouandjio at right tackle but it may take him some time to adjust to being on the outside and the same goes for Austin Shepherd moving to the inside (left guard). I find it odd that during the week we hear Saban praising the offensive line (at least in terms of effort) but in scrimmages his take away is negative.

In their defense, they (Arie and Austin) only spent a week in their prospective "new" positions but with A&M just three weeks away, time is not on our side. Hopefully this week we see some continuity out of the group.

But let's just be honest with ourselves, if the line struggles to block, who cares how many weapons we have at running back, quarterback or wide receiver?

You could also point to the lack of depth at nose tackle as a source of concern but early reports are that Brandon Ivory's knee is fine and he should be good to go for the opener. And JTadpole pointed out that with the amount of HUNH and up-tempo offenses 'Bama will see this year, we should expect to see a mix of different size nose tackles (and DL fronts).

What we know:

McCarron will be McCarron. — Efficient, smart with the football and will take what the defense gives him.

Our RB and WR depth is probably the best we've ever seen at 'Bama.

Safety and Linebacker will be the strength of the defense.

Defensive Line may have an experience problem but talent is there.

Will Alabama win a championship in 2013? — no clue. But if you want an early season prognosticator, keep an eye on how the Cornerback and Offensive Line play against Virginia Tech and certainly Texas A&M.

Hope for the best..

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