T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper Bring Experience to Alabama Crimson Tide
The Alabama Crimson Tide offense will have a distinctly new look this fall. First and foremost, the play calling for the Tide will be done by Lane Kiffin, who was hired by Nick Saban to be Alabama’s new offensive coordinator.
Kiffin, the former head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, the USC Trojans and the Oakland Raiders, will put his stamp on the offense. And he will be able to do that perhaps more quickly than he could have before because the Tide will have a new quarterback in 2014.
Gone is A.J. McCarron, the signal caller that won a pair of national championships during his career in Tuscaloosa. McCarron was ideal for the system run by Doug Nussmeier, who left Alabama to become the offensive coordinator for the Michigan Wolverines.
Kiffin and Saban are not exactly starting from scratch, however. Especially considering that the Tide have a pair of playmakers on offense that figure to be at the core of the 2014 attack.
Junior running back T.J. Yeldon led the Tide last year with 1.235 yards on the ground to go with 14 touchdowns. After getting his feet wet as the backup to Eddie Lacy in 2012, Yeldon was the featured back last season, and should continue in that role in 2014.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper, who is also a junior, saw a slight dip in his production last season, but is expected to be the go-to receiver for the Tide in 2014. After posting 1,000 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns as a freshman, Cooper had 736 yards and four scores last season, as he saw more attention from opposing defenses. Look for Kiffin to find new and creative ways to get the ball to Cooper.
The big decision that has to be made is naming a replacement for McCarron. Whoever that turns out to be, they will know that Yeldon and Cooper will be there to aid the offense in various capacities.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.