HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban, along with O.J. Howard, Jonathan Allen and Eddie Jackson, will address the throng that is SEC Media Days on Wednesday morning.
Saban typically comes into media days with a specific agenda he wants to push as he’s become sort of a spokesman for college football as a whole.
For the players, they should feel comfortable in front of the media after going through all of the bowl media sessions back in January.
There’ll be plenty of questions throughout the day, but here are five pressing one for the Crimson Tide heading into the season.
What will happen with Cam Robinson?
The legal side of things is resolved for Robinson and Hootie Jones, but questions still remain. How much, if any, time will Robinson miss this season?
Saban has said that he plans to handle the discipline internally so don’t expect anything official to come out.
There’s a chance that Robinson may not miss any game time because the charges were dropped, and because of the fact that there’ll be a lot of time between the incident and the start of the season.
Will the defense look any different?
Alabama has won four national championships under Saban, but there was another person right there for all four titles: Kirby Smart.
Smart, who is now the head coach at Georgia, served as Alabama’s defensive coordinator throughout Alabama’s dynasty. He, along with Saban, were able to adapt to the offensive changes and still field a top defense each year.
With Smart gone, Jeremy Pruitt is in at defensive coordinator. How much of Smart’s defense will Pruitt keep? What changes will he make?
It’ll still be a Saban defense so don’t expect a ton of changes. But it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Pruitt decided to blitz more with all of the explosive pass rushers at his disposal.
Is this the year the revolving door at quarterback catches up with the team?
Alabama will field a new starting quarterback for the third straight season. Should we just give Lane Kiffin the benefit of the doubt because of the work he’s done with Alabama’s last two quarterbacks? Or should we question the quarterbacks on Alabama’s roster because no one was able to completely separate from the group during the spring?
Both of those points can be argued. Kiffin has worked wonders with Alabama’s last two quarterbacks, setting records with Blake Sims and winning a national championship with Jake Coker. But it should be a little concerning that neither of the guys did enough to earn the job in the spring. The good news is that whomever wins the job this year has the opportunity to be a multi-year starter.
Will Kiffin open up the offense?
While Alabama has questions at quarterback, there aren’t any at wide receiver. Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart and O.J. Howard are all back for another run. Robert Foster and Cam Sims are both healthy. Bowling Green’s Gehrig Dieter is in the fold. Young players are eager to make an impact.
Alabama has more weapons than they’ll know what to do with next season. Kiffin has been known to pick a player and exploit every possible matchup with that player (Amari Cooper in 2014). But how will the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator manage this group of explosive weapons?
With question marks at running back, we could see more quick passes from Alabama early on to get the ball in the hands of its playmakers.
Who are the leaders?
Last year, Alabama had guys like A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, Derrick Henry, Ryan Kelly, Jake Coker and others as leaders.
Robinson and Reed were two of the biggest players on the team, and were able to lead through fear to a degree. Henry was one of the hardest workers on the team so it was easy to follow his example.
But a lot of last year’s leaders are gone and new guys must step up.
A few candidates on defense are Jonathan Allen, Dalvin Tomlinson, Reuben Foster, Ryan Anderson and Eddie Jackson. On offense, ArDarius Stewart and Cam Robinson are a couple of names that come to mind.
Leadership is arguably the most important aspect of a team. Last season, Alabama’s leaders helped pull the team out of the pit following the Ole Miss loss.
Does this group have personalities that can do the same?