Alabama Crimson Tide: CFN College Football Preview 2021

Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Crimson Tide: CFN College Football Preview 2021

2021 Preview

Alabama Crimson Tide: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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College Football News Preview 2021: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Alabama football season with what you need to know.


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– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Alabama Football Schedule Analysis
– Alabama Crimson Tide Previews
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

2020 Record: 13-0 overall, 11-0 in SEC
Head Coach: Nick Saban, 15th year, 164-23 (255-65 overall)
2020 CFN Final Ranking: 1
2020 CFN Preview Ranking: 3
2019 CFN Final Ranking: 15

Alabama Crimson Tide College Football Preview 2021: Offense

No big whoop. Just replace the (likely) New England Patriot starting quarterback coming off one of the most efficient years in college football history (Mac Jones), a Heisman-winning wide receiver (DeVonta Smith), another wide receiver who’s probably even better (Jaylen Waddle), a running back who deserved the Heisman (Najee Harris), a first round offensive tackle (Alex Leatherwood), a second round center (Landon Dickerson), and another drafted guard (Deonte Brown).

Oh, and while you’re at it, replace the new head coach of the Texas Longhorns at offensive coordinator (Steve Sarkisian).

But it’s Alabama. That’s the cost of doing business for an offense that led the nation in passing efficiency, third down chances, and averaged 542 yards and 49 points per game against a schedule of all SEC teams, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

Again, it’s Alabama, so you go grab the (former) Houston Texans head coach to be your new offensive coordinator – Bill O’Brien is an incredible get, even for the Tide – and the machine is supposed to keep on rolling. However …

As good as new starting quarterback Bryce Young is supposed to be, he’s not going to be Mac Jones or Tua Tagovailoa throwing the ball right out of the gate. He’s a smallish 6-0, 194-pound former superstar recruit who’s going to add a more dynamic element to the offense.

Young will be great, but it’s asking too much to immediately match the greatest two-year run of wide receiver talent in college football history.

John Metchie, though, is next. Totally overshadowed by the Slim Reaper’s amazing year, Metchie finished second on the team with 55 catches for 916 yards and six scores, and averaged more yards per catch – 16.7 to 15.9 – than Smith.

Between inside target Slade Bolden and a whole lot of big-time talents ready to show what they can do – like sophomores Javon Baker and Traeshon Holden, and 6-3 freshman Agiye Hall – the passing game will be fine.

The tight end situation is just as promising. Jahleel Billingsley has NFL tools, and junior Cameron Latu is a terrific talent, too.

Najee Harris ran for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 425 yards and four scores as the glue to the unstoppable offense. Brian Robinson might not be the same talent, but he’s a future NFL back with 6-1, 228-pound size and a whole lot of experience in the rotation.

2020’s No. 3 back Jase McClellen is another excellent option, but the real riser is sophomore Roydell Williams – who ran for 71 yards in a limited role – coming off a strong offseason.

The line has three all-stars ready to work around with Evan Neal a franchise NFL tackle who’ll move from the right side to the left, and with guard Emil Ekiyor and center Chris Owens also future pro starters. There’s enough talented versatility to figure out the other two spots in fall camp without missing a beat.

– What You Need To Know: Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Alabama Football Schedule Analysis

NEXT: Alabama Crimson Tide College Football Preview 2021: Defense

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