Max Donaldson, Reporter

The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off a down year by their standards. They went 14-1, won the SEC and made the national championship game, but the blow-out in that game became the narrative of the season. Alabama returns a number of starters including quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the top 4 wide receivers, insider linebacker Dylan Moses, and the whole secondary of cornerbacks: Patrick Surtain II, Trevon Diggs, Safties Xavier McKinney, and Shyhiem Carter. They are in a much better spot than they were last year. The secondary was an all new group and played excellently, despite Trevon Diggs missing the back half of the season due to injury. 


The offense is ready to go out and try to get back where they started the year last year, before the National Championship game. This should be an easy task as they return Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback.  Tua will be throwing to some familiar faces in Jerry Juedy, Henry Ruggs III, Jaylen Waddle, and Devonta Smith Jr. The passing attack will be one of the nation’s best. Alabama always brings out a difficult run game to stop and this year should be no different with Najee Harris returning and Trey Sanders coming in.  The offensive line returns multiple role players and starters from last season including Matt Womack and Alex Leatherwood.


The defense will be anchored by inside linebacker Dylan Moses and an experienced secondary. The secondary returns all starters from last year, minus Savion Smith, so many expect that to be one of the nation’s best groups. Alabama will lean on this group to provide a veteran presence on the defense. The coaching staff will also hope that this group can help reestablish the Alabama Football Standard, that the staff feels that the team lost at the end of last year. In the front seven, Raekwon Davis, Anfernee Jennings, and Dylan Moses will be leading the group that has to replace Quinnen Williams and Mack Wilson among others. The good news is that the have Terrell Lewis returning from injury and many role players returning to fill those starting positions. D.J Dale and LaBryan Ray are coming in to fill the spots left behind by Williams and Isiah Buggs. Josh McMillon has been taking the other inside linebacker opposite Dylan Moses.


Alabama has a schedule that could provide some problems with trips to South Carolina, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Auburn. The final three away games are trips to rivals and extremely hostile places. Alabama will rely on the experience of their star players to lead them through these hostile environments. Players like Tua Tagovailoa, Dylan Moses, the receiving corps and secondary group will need to step up in these games to overcome the hostile crowds. The good news is that Alabama gets Ole Miss, Tennessee and mostly importantly LSU at home. Alabama is looking to extend the Tennessee and LSU win streaks and being at home makes it a lot easier to do so. 


We might say this every year, but if Alabama can avoid major injuries and compliancy they could easily make it back to the national championship game again. They have the right mix of returning stars and new talent paired with a challenging but winnable schedule to give them the test they will need before the playoffs.