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NCAA Football Alabama Crimson Tide

10 Questions Alabama Football Must Answer This Offseason

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10 Questions Alabama Football Must Answer This Offseason

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama did not end the season the way they hoped they would in 2013. After beginning the year 11-0 and being ranked No. 1 for the duration of the season, they lost in a miracle fashion to rival Auburn in the regular season finale. Auburn went on to win the SEC Championship game and lose in the national title game.

Meanwhile, Alabama's consolation prize was the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma, a game which they lost. After winning three national titles in four years, the Tide lost back-to-back games to end the season.

Like college teams do every year, Alabama now must rebuild a little bit. QB AJ McCarron, who helped lead Alabama to their last two titles, will finally graduate. On defense, CJ Mosley, Ha Ha Clinton Dix, and Vinnie Sunseri are all gone.

During the coaching carousel, Nick Saban managed to keep defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, so there will be some continuity on defense. The Tide ranked fourth in points allowed, surrendering just 13.9 PPG to opponents. The offense might look a little different, though. Former offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier departed for the same job at Michigan. Saban, somewhat controversial, decided to hire former USC coach Lane Kiffin to run the offense. The offense averaged 38.2 PPG, 18th in the country.

As is often the case, Alabama has the No. 1 recruiting class for 2014. Despite losing many of their leaders and star players, Alabama always has a new influx of talent ready to plug in.

The schedule isn't that tough as they open up with West Virginia. Their toughest road games are at Ole Miss and LSU. They play Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M (without Johnny Manziel) at home.

Michael Schneid is a basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Mike on Twitter @msschneid or add him to your network on Google.

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10. How Will Alabama's Offense Look?

Lane Kiffin
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Nussmeier is gone and Lane Kiffin is the new offensive coordinator. The former Raiders/Tennessee/USC head coach will look to speed up the pace and go from more of a pro-style system to a no-huddle, spread system.

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9. How Will Alabama Replenish The Offensive Line?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama will be forced to replace All-Americans Cyrus Kouandjio and Anthony Steen on their offensive line. Given the need to run the football, replacing these two will be extremely important. It's also important to give whoever wins the QB competition enough time to work in the pocket.

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8. Will Alabama Improve Their Kicking Game?

Cade Foster
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Cade Foster is graduating and had a disastrous Iron Bowl, missing three field goal attempts. He only missed five kicks total so that game was likely just a fluke.

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7. Can the Tide Snap Their Losing Streak?

West Virginia
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama lost their last two games to Auburn and Oklahoma. They begin 2014 with a game in Atlanta against West Virginia. If somehow there is an upset, Alabama hosts Florida Atlantic Week 2 so the losing streak should end quickly.

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6. Can Alabama Reclaim the State?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn won the 2013 Iron Bowl in miracle fashion and took Alabama's place in the national title game. The 2014 edition of the Iron Bowl will be in Tuscaloosa so Alabama needs to regain the state with a win.

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5. Who Will Lead Alabama in Carries?

Derrick Henry
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

TJ Yeldon and Kenyan Drake are back, but we learned in the Sugar Bowl that Derrick Henry might just be their best running back yet. Nick Saban will have his work cut out for him to balance carries and figure out who has the hot hand. The offense should be heavily run-oriented, though.

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4. How Will Alabama Replace QB AJ McCarron?

AJ McCarron
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

AJ McCarron has been the leader of Alabama since his freshman year and started 53 games in four years. He completed 70 percent of his passes, threw for over 9,000 yards, 77 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. They need to replace his experience, leadership and stats.

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3. Who Will Replace AJ McCarron?

Cooper Bateman
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It is going to be hard to replace AJ McCarron, but Nick Saban has plenty of options on his roster. Senior Blake Sims is the only QB who has thrown a pass on the roster. The other QBs are sophomore Alec Morris and redshirt freshmen Parker McLeod and Cooper Bateman (above), who was one of the top QBs in the 2013 class.

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2. How Will Alabama Overcome Defensive Losses?

CJ Mosley
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker C.J. Mosley, safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix and safety Vinnie Sunseri will all depart. Trey DePriest will have first shot to replace Mosley. A handful of young players will compete to replace Clinton-Dix and Sunseri. These three were not only Bama's best, but they were the heart of their defense and leaders.

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1. Will Alabama Be One of the Four Playoff Teams in 2014?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama won three of the last five BCS National Championships. The BCS is gone, and 2014 begins the new four-team playoff system. Alabama would need to win the Sugar or Rose Bowl on New Year's Day and than play for the National title the week after.