Spring practice is here for the University of Alabama football program.
Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide start the journey to the College Football Playoff National Championship on Friday.
Alabama put 11 players in the NFL Scouting Combine and graduated others to different careers, but it has veteran players, contributors, and young enrollees set for action. Before Tide fans get ready for the fall, there are five crucial positions to watch in the spring.
Alabama dropped from a Joe Moore Award winner in 2020 to not being a finalist in 2021.
Doug Marrone came over from the National Football League to coach the offensive line, but the Crimson Tide had problems at center and right tackle. Darrian Dalcourt and Chris Owens started at center, but Alabama did not have stability until Seth McLaughlin took over in the second half versus Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
Alabama did not have a dominant presence at right tackle, and Emil Ekiyor suffered from inconsistent play at right guard.
Bryce Young got sacked 39 times, and the Tide could not establish consistent balance on offense.
Marrone returned to the pros, and Saban hired Eric Wolford to coach the offensive front. He turned Kentucky’s unit into a Joe Moore Award finalist, and its rushing attack served as one of the best in the SEC in 2021.
Alabama fans want to see a return of physical dominance upfront. The Tide signed a pair of five-star linemen – JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer – in its top-ranked 2021 class. People are prepared for Latham and Brockermeyer (or at least one) to start at offensive tackle. McLaughlin should remain at center, but Dalcourt and James Brockermeyer are in the conversation too.
Javion Cohen returns at left guard, but the Tide needs competition for Ekiyor at right guard.
Wolford will look to get the best five guys on the field to get Alabama back to an imposing group. Both tackle positions will be pivotal as Latham, Brockermeyer, George, Amari Kight, and Tyler Booker (freshman) compete for both spots.
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