Oddly particular predictions for every Alabama soccer place group in 2023

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Comfortable first recreation week to all. It’s Monday of Week 1, and there was a perception that Alabama would launch a depth chart forward of Saturday’s recreation, however Nick Saban nixed that notion throughout his Monday presser.

“It creates a variety of distractions on our group with a variety of guys considering, ‘Properly, this man received the job now, and I’m not going to play,’” Saban mentioned. “And fairly frankly we don’t want that. I need all of our gamers to proceed to compete for taking part in time, and I don’t need anyone on our group to assume they’re our backup participant or no matter.”

Monday’s information convention did reveal one word a couple of place group’s attainable lineup: junior security DeVonta Smith, who started preseason camp with the primary group, has been out for “some time” with a foot damage. Saban mentioned if wholesome, Smith can be within the combine, however the indication is that Caleb Downs and UAB switch Jaylen Key would be the beginning safeties towards Center Tennessee (6:30 pm CT on SEC Community).

As for the sport itself, the Blue Raiders have a good program with two bowl wins the previous two seasons, however they don’t seem to be anticipated to problem the Tide a lot. Then the eye turns to a mega-matchup with Texas in Week 2, arguably probably the most anticipated non-conference recreation of the season.

Monday’s lack of a depth chart received’t cease the conversations about every place group and what might be anticipated all through the season. So I’ve created oddly particular predictions about each forward of the primary recreation. Let’s dive into them:


The most important depth chart query getting into this week was who can be named beginning quarterback or if that place would obtain an “OR” designation. When requested if he expects to play a number of quarterbacks, Saban mentioned he had no expectations for that state of affairs and the competitors will proceed previous the primary recreation.

I do consider Jalen Milroe would be the first quarterback on the sphere Saturday, however I additionally agree with Saban’s sentiment that the competitors doesn’t finish with Week 1. My prediction for this group is that the starter will probably be solidified after the primary month of the season, and barring damage, he’ll maintain the job by 2023, and that will probably be Milroe. The primary 4 video games purchase a while for this prediction and provide a number of prospects: like Milroe seizing the job Week 1, a number of quarterbacks will play for the primary two weeks or for a 3rd, tune-up recreation at South Florida then the primary SEC recreation towards Ole Miss or another variation. However I see a month of potential QB shuffling, then an offense discovering and solidifying its identification heading into Week 5.

Saban was requested particularly about Milroe’s growth from final 12 months to now and mentioned, “I believe Jalen has made a big quantity of enchancment. I believe he’s extra comfy within the pocket. I believe that he has extra confidence in the best way he executes and the best way he performs. He’s been extra constant in the best way he’s performed. I believe that’s going to be the important thing to the drill for him is to have the ability to preserve that consistency in each observe so that he’s growing the sort of habits which can be going to hold over within the recreation and assist him achieve success.”

Jalen Milroe has accomplished 34 of 60 passes for 338 yards throughout his Alabama profession. (Courtesy of Alabama Athletics)

Operating backs

It’s no secret the energy of the offense is at operating again. It won’t have the star energy of the previous, however there’s greater than sufficient depth to tempo the offense with a robust operating recreation. Due to that, search for the highest 4 operating backs (Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams, Jamarion Miller and Justice Haynes) every having at the least 55 carries. Which may seem to be a low bar, however 4 operating backs crossing that threshold has occurred solely as soon as previously 10 seasons — in 2018 with Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr.

This prediction hinges on a number of issues, just like the potential of Milroe beginning and taking a lot of carries, the offensive line’s play and the early well being standing of Haynes (and his attainable ascension). However an general dedication to the run ought to push this prediction by. The omission of Richard Younger results in one other semi-prediction: He’ll play in 4 video games and use his redshirt, barring an damage to the highest 4.



Ja’Corey Brooks likes what he sees from Alabama’s receivers

Huge receivers

Alabama didn’t have a 1,000-yard receiver final season for the primary time since 2017. One of many massive questions getting into this season is who will emerge because the bona fide prime choice. Whether or not one emerges, Alabama received’t have a 1,000-yard receiver in consecutive seasons for the primary time since 2016-17 … however that may not essentially be a foul factor.

The questions at quarterback and the concerted effort to run contribute to this prediction, in addition to the attainable emergence of the tight ends, whose manufacturing may eat into the receivers’ yardage. There are many choices at receiver however not a dominant drive, at the least proper now. The committee method early additionally performs into this prediction. And it’s value noting that in 2016 and 2017, Alabama performed for or received the nationwide championship.



What Alabama’s roster ought to seem like to open the 2023 season

Tight ends

Tight finish is a possible breakout place given the arrival of offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and his historical past with the place and the depth that has developed all through camp. Alabama legitimately has 4 playable tight ends (CJ Dippre, Robbie Ouzts, Amari Niblack and Danny Lewis Jr.), and all 4 will earn at the least one begin this season. The positional versatility of the group (like Niblack having the ability to break up out to receiver) and my perception that Rees will implement extra two-tight-end units than earlier coordinators, present a runway for this prediction. Bear in mind, all that should occur is every to be on the sphere for the primary play, which is extra recreation plan- and package-driven. I see a number of video games the place Alabama begins a number of tight ends. However irrespective of who’s beginning, the tight ends must be enjoyable to look at.



What does Tommy Rees carry to Alabama’s offense?

Offensive linemen

No group is extra consequential to the offense’s success this season. The gamers on the offensive line have spoken about returning to “the usual” since spring observe, and with uncertainty at quarterback and receiver, it’s crucial for that group to ascertain physicality. I’m bullish on this group general, which is why 4 offensive linemen will obtain some postseason awards. One is clear, and that’s proper deal with JC Latham, who may rack up All-SEC, All-America and extra {hardware} with the season he’s projected to have. At left deal with, there will probably be rising pains for both true freshman Kadyn Proctor or redshirt freshman Elijah Pritchett early. Proctor appears like he may draw back with it, however whoever earns probably the most enjoying time there’ll earn Freshman All-America honors. Guard Tyler Booker will discover his method onto an All-SEC group. So, who’s the fourth? Heart Seth McLaughlin, who by all indications had a robust preseason camp.



Alabama soccer looking for consistency because it builds up offensive, defensive traces

Defensive linemen

The defensive position will probably be essential to its unit’s success. The storyline round this group throughout camp is discovering depth, and at the least two gamers who’ve separated themselves and can contribute closely this season are Tim Keenan and Jah-Marien Latham. The remaining will reveal themselves as soon as Saturday kicks off.

One of many potential good tales brewing throughout the defensive entrance is Justin Eboigbe, a constant contributor however by no means a starter who missed the majority of final season to damage. By all accounts, he has had a robust camp, and his return is likely one of the most underrated developments of this 12 months’s protection. Half 1 of the defensive position predictions: Eboigbe posts profession highs in each class in his remaining season. Half 2: Jaheim Oatis earns All-SEC distinction for the second consecutive season.



Alabama veterans break down the group’s freshmen to look at


Inside, there’s seemingly a constant three-man rotation of Deontae Lawson, Jihaad Campbell and Trezmen Marshall. Lawson will lead the group in tackles and obtain an All-SEC distinction of some kind. Alabama often has a family identify at inside linebacker, however Lawson’s getting into 2023 a bit below the radar after approaching sturdy late final season however lacking spring observe because of damage. He had a wholesome camp and is likely one of the largest particular person breakout gamers on the group.

Outdoors linebacker is perhaps probably the most proficient place on the group from a recruiting star rating standpoint. This 12 months’s group is led by a pair of veterans in Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell, who will every document at the least 10 tackles for loss and eight sacks. I count on Turner to return to his 2021 type, exceed that time and problem for SEC Defensive Participant of the 12 months.

Lofty expectations for this group as a complete, nevertheless it’s a bunch that might be considered the most effective linebacker unit within the SEC by the top of the season.

Defensive backs

Alabama’s secondary is likely one of the most intriguing place teams. It has been fierce all through searching for the most effective beginning 5, and there’s a looming problem to remove communication errors that have been expensive final season. I just like the depth of this 12 months’s group, notably at cornerback. Terrion Arnold must be improved in his second 12 months at cornerback, and Trey Amos will probably be an element, resulting in Arnold lining up at completely different positions. Because of the improved play at cornerback and presumably in the complete secondary, it’s going to be harder for groups to keep away from Kool-Assist McKinstry, which is why I’m predicting that McKinstry could have his first-ever multi-interception season. And since he’s dynamic with the ball in his arms, he could have at the least one pick-six.


Kicker Will Reichard and punter James Burnip acquired reward all through camp. I foresee particular groups taking a step ahead in 2023 behind these two, which is why Reichard will convert at the least 87 % of his discipline targets, which is able to transfer him into the highest 5 all-time in SEC historical past in discipline objective proportion. And Burnip will rank within the prime 5 within the SEC in punt common (he was seventh final season at 42.3).

 (Prime picture of Deontae Lawson: Justin Ford / Getty Photos)

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