Alabama Crimson Tide: Forecasting the Tide

Forecasting the Tide: Special teams 

January, 29, 2013
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the specialists.

Forecasting the Tide: Offensive line 

January, 24, 2013
1/24/13
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the offensive line.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It was never a secret that D.J. Fluker would forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Alabama's hulking right tackle put his four years in and decided it was time to go. Coach Nick Saban even said way back in November on his weekly radio show that Fluker was a "a guy who is probably going to go out for the draft."

But Fluker is just one loss on an offensive line many considered the best in all of college football. Center Barrett Jones is leaving the Capstone as one the most decorated football players in the school's history. His three national championships playing three different positions on the offensive line is unprecedented. Winning the Outland Trophy as a junior and then switching to center and winning the Rimington Trophy is mind boggling.

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Forecasting the Tide: Quarterback 

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the quarterbacks.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- AJ McCarron could have said he'd had enough. The junior quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide could have looked back on a mesmerizing season in which he set school records, led the country in passing efficiency and won the national championship, and said he'd done all he could. He could have declared for the NFL draft and left nothing unfinished in Tuscaloosa. Back-to-back titles would leave little for fans to gripe about.


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Forecasting the Tide: Wide receiver 

January, 16, 2013
1/16/13
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday until national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the wide receivers.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Even with a national championship in hand, the Alabama coaching staff must look back at the passing game and wonder, "What if?"

What if DeAndrew White hadn't torn up his knee against Ole Miss? Would Amari Cooper have won the starting job and become AJ McCarron's go-to target if he had?


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Forecasting the Tide: Running back 

January, 15, 2013
1/15/13
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the running backs.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Even Eddie Lacy is in the dark about who will carry the football for the University of Alabama next season. The junior running back who declared for the NFL draft last week said he's sure T.J. Yeldon will get plenty of carries, but who the No. 2 back is remains a question mark.


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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the tight ends and H-backs.


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Forecasting the Tide: Safety 

January, 3, 2013
1/03/13
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the safeties.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It's hard to imagine that Robert Lester came to Alabama in the same recruiting class as his high school teammate Julio Jones. Lester, now a fifth-year senior is about to compete in his final collegiate game while Jones is set to play in the Pro Bowl in his second season with the Atlanta Falcons.

The two friends took the same track but at vastly different speeds.

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Forecasting the Tide: Cornerback 

January, 1, 2013
1/01/13
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the cornerbacks.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Every practice Nick Saban is there, tossing the football to every one of the cornerbacks as they run down the sideline. Once one turn is finished, he sprints to the other end of the field and does it all over again. The 61-year-old head coach of the Crimson Tide never fails to work with his position.

Jeremy Pruitt gets the safeties, Kirby Smart gets the inside linebackers, Lance Thompson gets the outside linebackers and Chris Rumph gets the defensive linemen. The cornerbacks are all Saban's at the start. So if there's a position that better get things right, it's them. You don't want to upset the man who recruited you to Tuscaloosa in the first place.

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Forecasting the Tide: Linebacker 

December, 27, 2012
12/27/12
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the linebackers.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama didn't lack for options at linebacker this season. What the Crimson Tide lost in experience from a year ago, it made up for with depth. Their best and most productive linebacker wasn't even a starter technically.

C.J. Mosley, the junior inside linebacker who leads the team with 99 tackles, wasn't the clear-cut No. 1 at his position. Instead, he shared time with either Nico Johnson or Trey DePriest depending on the formation and down and distance. Next season he won't have to. It's part of the reason why he put the NFL on hold and announced last week that he would return for his senior season.

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Forecasting the Tide: Nose guard 

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the nose guards.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The position is a thankless one, all responsibility and little payoff. Nose guards are asked to take a beating and let others make the plays at the University of Alabama. In coach Nick Saban's 3-4 system, the men in the middle of the defensive line don't show up in the stat book but they are arguably the key to the defense. Take away the building block and the structure crumbles.

Alabama fans have seen the position's importance the past few years, starting with the mammoth Terrence Cody who ate space like none other, followed by Josh Chapman and then Jesse Williams. All three have had minor spins on how they play nose guard. Williams tried to add a pass-rush flavor to the recipe and found some success.

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Forecasting the Tide: Defensive end 

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation will review each position and look at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we’ll look at the defensive ends.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The defensive line has been a veteran unit at the University of Alabama this season, highlighted by seniors Damion Square and Quinton Dial. The duo has helped the defense uphold its lofty status as the tops in the country in yards allowed. Their ability to rush the passer as well as help in run support is something that comes only with age and experience -- knowing how and when to maintain their lanes and gap assignments.

But when Square and Dial leave for careers beyond The Capstone, who will inherit their positions on the defensive line? How will their replacements balance the desire to sack the quarterback with the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of coach Nick Saban's intricate 3-4 scheme?

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