No. 3: Is there a roster (other than maybe Georgia) that is more talented than the Alabama Crimson Tide?
There are a lot of questions about this Alabama offense, but it’s still Alabama. By talent alone, they’re likely to be amongst the best offenses the Bulldogs see in 2023. But with no Bryce Young and a new play-caller, what will it look like?
Tommy Rees comes in from Notre Dame to take over at OC. His Irish offenses were run-heavy, featuring lots of two TE sets and play-action passing. It’s an approach that’s much less reliant on having great QB play than the pro-spread attacks Bama has fielded recently. And while Bama famously keeps its offense largely the same regardless of who’s calling plays, a shift towards a more run-first offense might be necessary considering the QB position looks unsettled heading into the fall.
The QB battle is a three-way race between Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson, and Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner. Milroe served as Bryce Young’s backup last season. He filled in admirably for Young last season, starting in Bama’s win over Texas A&M. But he struggled with turnovers and is highly inconsistent as a passer.
Ty Simpson is a former 5-star prospect with a good arm and athleticism. But his youth showed in Alabama’s spring game. Buchner transferred in after the spring. He too offers dual-threat capabilities, has the most in-game experience of the bunch, and is familiar with Tommy Rees’ offense. But he’s had his own issues in the pass game with a career TD:INT ratio of 6:8.
Unless someone from that trio steps up in a big way as a passer, the Tide will need to lean on their ground game to find success on offense this fall. The dynamic Jahmyr Gibbs is off to the NFL after leading Bama in rushing last year, but Jase McClellan is back after putting up 655 yards and 7 TDs on the ground. Up front, three starters are gone, but center Seth McLaughlin and right tackle JC Latham should still pave the way and lead a strong OL.
The receiving corps wasn’t nearly as dangerous in 2022 as prior groups were, but the top three from that room return this year between Jermaine Burton, Ja’Corey Brooks, and Kobe Prentice. With another year of experience, this could be an improved group. The TE was heavily involved in Rees’ Notre Dame offenses. The Tide took a blow there losing Cameron Latu, but Maryland transfer CJ Dippre was a good pickup.
This is arguably the most “gettable” Bama has been in quite some time, and MSU’s defense might match up better with this unit compared to prior years, especially with the game in Starkville. But their talent level is undeniable.
Stopping them will be a massive challenge.