Alabama’s defense has been somewhat gutted by injury this spring and the new offensive lineman appear to be a little ahead of where they were projected to be. Combine that with one of the most experienced offensive backfields in all of college football and you get a big time roasting of the defense.
Three out of four of the starting linebackers sat this scrimmage out leaving a bunch of second year players to attempt to hold their own. The results were not pretty. From the looks of things the quarterbacks were not really pressured and receivers ran wild.
All of this is situational and doesn’t indicate anything more than the condition of Alabama’s young backup players. Which is to say they need a lot more work. I was watching Texas A&M’s spring game Saturday on TV and they had a similar situation. Both Johnny Manzel and his backup were having a field day against a defense missing numerous starters.
The spring game historically hasn’t been a high scoring affair at Alabama but this coming Saturday could be different. A J McCarron is probably going to cut the hobbled defense to shreds and backup quarterback Blake Sims likely will have his way with the 2nd teamers who will likely be a mixture of third teamers and walkons. So Alabama fans may be in for a scoring fest. All of which will be exciting for the fans to watch but troublesome to think about.
Alabama would fare much better if all of the injured linebackers were back in the game. Losing Tre DePriest will cause chaos since he normally makes the defensive calls. While this Saturday will probably be an ugly day defensively for the young players this is an opportunity to get better. Linebackers Reggie Ragland, Ryan Anderson, and Dillon Lee were all buried deeply on the depth chart last year and will have an opportunity to show if they can handle it or not. Every play will make them better.
The secondary has been getting butchered but we will have to see it live to know if they are really struggling that badly or if the front 7 is just letting the quarterbacks stand back there. Given Alabama’s experience at quarterback and wide receiver no secondary in American could stop them if given time.
Another interesting battle is at Quarterback. We will likely only see 3 to 4 quarterbacks Saturday. Those guys should represent the players who have the best chance of seeing the field in 2013.
All of this leaves the door wide open for freshman defensive players to come in and have a shot at playing time.
four freshman corners arrive this summer along with three linebackers and four defensive lineman. While we can never predict who of those freshman will pick up the system quickly and be a factor next season it’s a safe bet that at least 6 of them will see the field a good bit with possibly 3 of them being co-starters or better by seasons end. It would not shock me to see a true freshman starting at corner. I hate to name names but Alabama stole DL A’Shawn Robinson from Texas late in the recruiting cycle and if he doesn’t switch to offensive line he may have the raw talent to upgrade Alabama’s defensive line. I say that every year and I’m not sure if we’ve seen it yet but the lack of sacks by Alabama’s current starting defensive line could be a sign that the door is open.