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3 key ways the offensive scheme will change under Kalen DeBoer

Alabama head coach Kalen DeBoer on the practice field for the Crimson Tide during Monday's spring session to open 2024.
Kent Gidley - Alabama Athletics

Nick Saban had Alabama football as strictly defense and a rushing attack from 2007 to 2013.

He had two-time BCS National Championship quarterback in AJ McCarron (2011, 2012) and a national champion in Greg McElroy (2009), but the Crimson Tide at the time was an offense that did not allow the quarterback to do too much.

RELATED: Alabama fans reveal their thoughts on the best Crimson Tide QB ever

Alabama kept stellar defenses from 2014 to 2017, but Lane Kiffin’s influence caused the offense to evolve. The Tide now has a head coach that is offensive minded. Kalen DeBoer looks to frustrate defenses in various ways in the fall.

He has a coaching staff that wants to attack opposition in different aspects. DeBoer has talent on this Alabama roster — including a nucleus of veteran players that did not transfer — but how will the offensive scheme change under him?

Three ways are below on how it changes.

1. A leaner offensive line

People were fascinated by how big Alabama’s offensive line was in 2023, but the guys were not athletic enough.

Alabama could not run the football like it wanted to, and players struggled in pass protection. Tyler Booker is one of a few names that admitted to dropping weight this summer to be better. He played at 355 pounds last season at left guard, but the former five-star is now 330 pounds. Chris Kapilovic, the Crimson Tide’s offensive line coach, wants big guys that can move and be explosive.

Alabama will have a lot of man-blocking, zone-blocking, gap-blocking, counter-blocking, and pulling schemes to get running backs to the edge and hitting holes faster. The Tide also want its linemen neutralizing the best edge rushers in pass protection.

One of the reasons why Coach DeBoer had success at Washington last year was a lean, yet productive O-Line.

2. More pass-happy

Alabama was a run-first team for much of the Saban era.

DeBoer and his staff look to unlock the passing game more.

Jalen Milroe mentioned on The Bussin’ With the Boys podcast that he can do anything he wants in this offense. Alabama’s offensive staff wants to show off how improved Milroe is in his passing mechanics. We may see more four wide receiver sets, jet sweeps, end arounds, and pop passes.

The biggest thing Nick Sheridan wants to do is set Milroe up with easy plays in the passing game to elevate his confidence. Alabama will still run the ball to create balance, but this is set up to be a pass-first offense.

3. RBs & TEs more involved in passing game

Coach DeBoer would like to have everyone involved in the passing game.

This creates an opportunity for running backs and tight ends. Jam Miller, Justice Haynes, and Richard Young can all catch out the backfield. The more weapons you have, the better your chances of stressing out an opposing defense.

Alabama also has athletic tight ends with CJ Dippre, Danny Lewis Jr., Robbie Ouzts, Ty Lockwood, and Jay Lindsey.

Dippre, Lewis, and Ouzts can block, run routes, and catch passes. Alabama has won national championships when the tight end position has been involved in the aerial attack. DeBoer wants the group to have a say in making the Tide’s offense dynamic.

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Stephen M. Smith is the senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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