Keys to the Kingdom: Offense

With the players reporting to camp this weeks, fans are awaking from their off-season hibernation, wondering how the 2008 Crimson Tide team will look come late-August. Though the Tide faltered towards the end of 2007, fans remain optimistic as the start of a new season draws closer.

But where could one go to hear all of the details they so desperately seek? How will they quench their thirst for College Football before it tears them asunder? I’ll there you where, the internetz… w00t!!!1!!!!!!9!!

Sure, you could buy an “expert” opinion magazine giving you charts and graphs, but where can one find the fun that a blog provides in such magazines?**

The fun is all here, baby. Now dance monkey….. DANCE!

Here are a few important factors I will be paying close attention to this season. You could also say they will be the Tide’s “Keys to the Kingdom” if success we are to have success (On no I didn’t!………… yes, I did!)

Jim McElwain: Yes, our third OC in 3 years will finally have every player he’ll get for the 2008 season. He brings an impressive resume as the man that brought Fresno’s offense to life last year, but the SEC is no joke when it comes to defense. His biggest short term goal will be to keep John Parker Wilson from making the oh so painful mistakes he’s made in the past. Other than that, we need to find ways to keep our opponents guessing as we expand our short passing game and hopefully have a big-time running attack.

Even though I wear crimson colored glasses, I think Jim will be the wild card of the new offensive coordinators of the SEC. We’ve all heard about Tony Franklin countless times, and Arkansas’ attack will be lead by Bobby Petrino, who’s brother might just be a figure-head OC. He’s a western US guy living in a new environment, which will certainly prove to be interesting. (if I forget any other new OCs, forgive me).

Freshmen: These guys will hopefully make opposing defensive coordinators squirm in their seats in the future, but for now we really don’t know what to expect. Yes, they are talented, but inexperienced in a game much faster and stronger than they’re used to. We really need them to play mistake free football as much as possible if we are progress forward in the Saban era.

Pick your Freshman (Julio, Scott, Harris, Hightower, etc) and they’ll all have expectations to live up to. But as for me, I just want to them to learn and not screw up too badly.

Offensive Line: It is now make it or break it time for this O-Line. After the textbook fiasco from 2007, our line really never seemed to gel throughout the season. Now, with the return of Senior Captain Antoine Caldwell at Center and All-Universe Andre Smith at Left Tackle, we will have plenty of experience in the trenches. The only question is whether or not these guys can live up to expectations, something Caldwell has been talking about all off-season.

Personally, I think they’ll be much better, which should help our offensive production. In fact, the Right Tackle is the only position where a new face will perform, since The offensive line accounts for four of eight returning starters. Look for Tyler Love, Taylor Pharr, and Drew Davis to contend for the RT slot.

John Parker Wilson: The ultimate “make it or break it” for Alabama is JPW. He’ll get a majority of the attention as one of the few Senior QBs in the SEC. He has moments of brilliance, followed by moments of agony, which may or may not account for the record amount of broken TVs in Alabama after a 100 yard interception taken to the house.

He’s got a strong arm, but has allowed the ball to float at little too much. He’s got good down the field vision, although he seems to be guilty of staring down his recievers over and over again. He’s not Pat White, but he can move fairly well all things considered.

Wide Receiver: With the departure of Matt Caddell, Keith Browd, and DJ Hall, Alabama will be relying on a very different receiving core. Nikita Stover is one of the most experienced, and he very well could be the leading receiver for the Tide.Mike McCoy is another name we’ll be seeing more of, as he and Nikita may just be starting together.

Other names include Brandon Gibson, who is coming in after a redshirt, as well as Marquis Maze, the proverbial “Prothro” in his stature and jersey number. Earl Alexander looks to take a prominant as well, as he had himself an impressive A-day performance. I’ll certainly be watching out to see how he does in 2008.

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