Jan 2, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban prior to kickoff of a game against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

2014 SEC Football Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide


Ole Hotty Toddy is going to prepare you for the upcoming 2014 season with all the information we can provide you. We are even going to give you an in depth look at each SEC team.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Alabama Crimson Tide and what to expect from them in the upcoming 2014 season. We will go over which impact players are returning in 2014, who left, a look at there schedule, and then our staff will predict how the Tide will do in the 2014 season.

Introduction

Alabama is the premier dynasty of all of college football. What Nick Saban has done for the program over the past five years, other schools’ fan bases could only wish to accomplish a small portion of what they’ve achieved. Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have won three of the last five national championships. National Championships have become so common in Tuscaloosa that it has become a minimum expectation from the Crimson Tide fan base.

For example, last season Alabama lost only two games, their final regular season game against Auburn, and the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma. That season was a big disappoint for everyone who cheers for the Crimson Tide. They are already a favorite to be in the new four team NCAA College Football Playoffs, and they don’t even know who’s going to be their starting quarterback.

2014 Alabama Football Schedule

Date
Opponent
Site
August 30thWest VirginiaAtlanta, Georgia (Georgia Dome)
September 6thFlorida AtlanticTuscaloosa, Alabama(Bryant-Denny Stadium)
September 13thSouthern MissTuscaloosa, Alabama(Bryant-Denny Stadium)
September 20th FloridaTuscaloosa, Alabama(Bryant-Denny Stadium)
October 4that Ole MissOxford, Mississippi
(Vaught-Hemingway Stadium)
October 11that ArkansasFayetteville, Arkansas
(Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium)
October 18thTexas A&MTuscaloosa, Alabama(Bryant-Denny Stadium)
October 25that TennesseeKnoxville, Tennessee
(Neyland Stadium)
November 8that LSUBaton Rouge, Louisiana
(Tiger Stadium)
November 15thMississippi StateTuscaloosa, Alabama(Bryant-Denny Stadium)
November 22ndWestern CarolinaTuscaloosa, Alabama(Bryant-Denny Stadium)
November 29thAuburnTuscaloosa, Alabama(Bryant-Denny Stadium)

Who Has Left?

A.J. McCarron (QB) - Alabama will be looking for big shoes to fill with A.J. McCarron departing to the NFL. Remember those three National Championships we mentioned earlier, well McCarron is responsible for two of them. It is a question all Alabama fans have been asking during the entire offseason. Who is going to start behind center? All eyes are on Florida State transfer Jacob Coker. The fans seem to have decided Coker will lead the Tide before Saban has even announced his decision.

Jan 2, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (10) against the Oklahoma Sooners during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

CJ Mosley (LB) - CJ Mosley was a huge contributor to the vicious Alabama defense over the past four years. In 2013, Mosley produced 108 total tackles (62 solo and 46 assist). He also picked up 9.0 tackles for a loss. In his career at Alabama, Mosley accumulated 6.5 sacks. Those stats alone prove why he was a first round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (DB) - There is nothing funny about his first name. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was a true beast for the Alabama Crimson Tide over the past three seasons. Clinton-Dix was so talented, he opted out his senior year at Alabama and went in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The 2012 season may have been arguably his best season at Alabama, with a total of five interceptions on the season. But, 2013 was not too shabby with a career-high 51 total tackles, and two interceptions on the season.

Kevin Norwood (WR) - Kevin Norwood played a huge role in the Alabama offense over the past two seasons, and last season was probably his best. In 2013, Norwood accumulated a career-high 568 receiving yards and also a career-high seven touchdowns. His ability to cause mismatches downfield will be truly missed at Alabama.

Other Notable Players: Vinnie Sunseri (S), Anthony Steen (OG), Cryus Kouandjio (OT), Ed Stinson (DE), Kenny Bell (WR)

Who Is Coming?

Lane Kiffin (Offensive Coordinator) - Probably one of the most controversial moments this offseason in college football was when Nick Saban announced his hiring of former USC and Tennessee head coach, Lane Kiffin as offensive coordinator. There was no question this sent some Alabama fans in a storming rage. Kiffin may have failed at two major universities as the leader, but one of the things he is a master mind at is the offense. It is a decision that could be either one of two things for Nick Saban. One, it could be a pure genius move to have hired Kiffin. Or two, it could be the most laughable moment of his illustrious career. If there is one thing Bama fans have learned over the years about Nick Saban – is that you don’t question Nick Saban. What will be interesting and might need to be a pay-per-view event is the third Saturday in October game, when Alabama heads to Tennessee. I wonder if it will be a warm-welcoming for Kiffin in his return back to Neyland Stadium.

Apr 19, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Lane Kiffin during the A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Robinson (OT) - Cameron Robinson is a 5-star prospect from the 2014 recruiting class. He was rated 3rd overall in the nation, and the no. 1 offensive tackle in the nation. At 6ft. – 7 in, 335 lbs. he is a massive wall that defenders will try to get around to the quarterback. Robinson has extremely quick feet and has one of the best pass/run blocking skills in the nation. With his overall tremendous talent, he is easily a player Saban will choose to start right away.

Jacob Coker (QB) - Jacob Coker is a Florida State transfer to Alabama. His talent has not been witnessed much in his collegiate career due to him being injured last year at Florida State during spring practice, resulting in him being medically redshirted. Therefor, Coker is able to walk-on at Alabama and start as quarterback in the 2014 season. Even though Nick Saban has not announced his decision of who will start at quarterback in 2014, it is scary to think this guy (Coker) was at point Jimbo Fisher’s number one choice over 2014 Heisman Trophy Winner and National Championship MVP Jameis Winston.

Other Notable Players: Da’Shawn Hand (SDE), Tony Brown (CB), Marlon Humphrey (CB), Rashaan Evans (OLB), Cameron Sims (WR)

Who’s Returning?

T.J. Yeldon (RB) - T.J. Yeldon is an Alabama running back who has basically dominated the Crimson Tide’s run game over the past couple of seasons. Minus the national championship in 2012, Yeldon’s performance in 2013 was the best of his collegiate career. Yeldon rushed for 1,235 yards in the 2013 season and added 14 rushing touchdowns on the year. He averaged six yards per carry and also picked up 20 receptions for 183 receiving yards. In 2014, he is expected to be Nick Saban’s primary running back once again and the secret weapon of the Alabama offense.

Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon (4) runs with the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Alabama won 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Henry (RB) - Derrick Henry was a beast in high school. In his senior year, he broke Ken Hall’s national all-time high school rushing record. In his freshman year at Alabama, he played a huge role in the Alabama run game. At 6ft. – 3 inches, 238 lbs. Henry is a brick wall, and last season he averaged over ten yards per carry. He finished his 2013 season with 35 rush attempts resulting in 382 total yards in rushing. He also picked up three rushing touchdowns and a 61-yard reception that resulted in a touchdown. He is expected to play pivotal role in Alabama’s offense in 2014 and maybe Saban’s first choice at backing up starting running back, T.J. Yeldon.

Amari Cooper (WR)- Amari Cooper may have had a down year last season compared to his freshman year in 2012, but he is a heavy favorite to be one of the impact players for the Alabama offense in the 2014 season. It is funny to say that 736 receiving yards and four touchdowns was a considerably disappointing year for the Alabama star wide receiver, but when you have a 1,000 receiving yards and eleven touchdowns in your freshman year, expectations become extremely high.

Other Notable Players: Christian Jones (WR), Eddie Jackson (DB), Kenyan Drake (RB), A’Shawn Robinson (DL), Brandon Ivory (NT)

Ole Hotty Toddy’s Thoughts On Bama

Acey Roberts - Alabama returns seven on offense and four on defense. Any other team and we are talking about a set back or rebuilding year with those numbers, but at Alabama the recruiting and player development is on such a higher level than anywhere else in college football. Running backs TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry return as well as wide receiver Amari Cooper return which in my mind basically nullify the lack of a known entity at quarterback. My contacts at FSU say transfer Jacob Coker battled Heisman winner Jameis Winston down to the last week last year. He is the real deal and will likely immediately be one of the best quarterbacks in the sec. So, to me Alabama has few question marks beyond the quarterback position. Left tackle could be a problem. Cornerbacks will be very young but talented. Ole Miss can take advantage of the left side of the line and rattle Coker but forcing this team to run the ball may not be the best option. I think staking up against the run game, containing Amari Cooper and forcing Coker to pass will give Ole Miss a chance to keep the game low scoring. Then it will be up to Bo Wallace and the Rebels to find a way to score. I think Ole Miss wins at home, 23-20.

Dave Bevan - I think if you tell any Alabama fan that their is a possible for Alabama to loss three games or more this season, they will laugh at you, give you the bird, and simply walk away. Bama fans are arrogant and spoiled. Every year is a national title year in their eyes. But, with so much rebuilding going on in the SEC this year, the endless incoming and returning talent for Alabama, and add in the fact they have a considerably easy schedule, you can not rule them out to making it to Arlington. I agree with Acey on the possible flaws for Alabama. The concern for me is not at quarterback. Lets note the fact that in A.J. McCarron’s first year at Alabama, he ended it with a national championship win. Looking at Alabama’s schedule, I see three possible losses in the regular season. Yes, I believe Ole Miss has a chance to upset the Tide in Oxford this year, it’s their best chance in a long time, that is one. Two has to be another road game, the matchup between LSU in Death Valley is never an easy task. Ask A.J. McCarron how tough of a task that was in 2012. Then of course you have the Iron Bowl. Even though it is in Tuscaloosa this year, Gus Malzahn proved to Alabama that his Tigers are no joke. So, yes I could see Alabama going 12-0 this season, but yet again I am not ruling out a possible disappointing 10-2, at worst 9-3 regular season for the Tide. You think that is a joke? May I remind you, Alabama was the early season favorite to win the 2010 national championship, but finished the regular season 9-3 with losses to South Carolina, LSU, and Auburn.

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  • ndotken

    Nice article … even though you’re obviously an Ole Miss homer, so it’s understandable how you can be so biased in your opinion. Alabama has two tough games in 2014 – LSU and Auburn (no Ole Miss is not one of them). Alabama hasn’t lost in Oxford since 2003, when Eli Manning was the QB. Fortunately for Bama, Bo Wallace is no Eli Manning. Bama might lose one game, but rest assuredly it won’t be to Ole Miss. Frankly I see the Rebels losing six games (Boise St, Bama, TA&M, LSU, Auburn & Miss St), possibly seven (@ Ark). As usual, the Ole Miss faithful get themselves all excited, but they should be prepared to be sorely disappointed. Roll Tide!