Development of Depth Will Be Key for Alabama
From the moment Nick Saban stepped foot on the University of Alabama, his recruiting classes of been the stuff of legend. Top 5 finish after top 5 finish on the recruiting trail have given the Crimson Tide a roster that his not only loaded in their top 40 players, but the bottom 40 players who are chomping at the bit to break into the rotation
As spring practice started, injuries and departures have plagued teams from around the country, and Alabama has not been immune to the adversity facing everyone from the top teams in the country to NAIA programs.
Early in the week it was incoming four/five star wide receiver Chris Black who fell to the injury bug and will be forced to miss the 2012 season with a shoulder injury. Black was an early enrollee, joining the team in the spring and was expected to make an impact in some way, shape or form, this season.
While his injury will certainly be a hit for the Tide this season, Alabama is loaded at the wide receiver position with the likes of Kenny Bell, Kevin Norwood, DeAndrew White and highly touted freshmen Amari Cooper and Cyrus Jones.
However when it comes to the departure of junior college transfer Travell Dixon at corner back and a season ending knee injury to safety Jarrick Williams, the Tide may be in trouble.
Alabama is loaded with talent in the defensive backfield, but experience is limited as only 5 defensive backs have significant game experience (Nick Perry, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, John Fulton, Robert Lester, and Vinnie Sunseri). Junior Deion Belue also has game experience as well, but all coming at the junior college level.
For Alabamato make a run to Miami this season, the weight of those title hopes may fall on the shoulders of freshman Jabriel Washington, Landon Collins, Geno Smith and now Eddie Williams.
Williams had spent the early portion of his fall camp working with the wide receivers where he looked like he could become a big play threat for the Crimson Tide. But with the loss of Jarrick Williams, Eddie Williams was moved to safety to provide additional depth.
It will be crucial that at least one of those inexperienced defensive backs develop quickly, as Alabama will be tested early and often, especially against the likes of the Arkansas Razerbacks and Missouri Tigers.