Alabama must address issues on offense as Tide aim for return to top of college football in 2022 season

Alabama coach Nick Saban said it all while shaking Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s hand following the Crimson Tide’s 33-18 loss in the College Football Playoff National Championship in January. 

“You guys whipped our [expletive deleted] in the fourth quarter.”

Those were nine words that will define the next eight months of Alabama football, and should also be considered the starting point for what Saban intends to be a return to the top of the college football pedestal. He has a foundation that most coaches dream of to accomplish that mission. 

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young is back, along with edge threat Will Anderson Jr. — potentially the top two players in the sport. The talent level in Tuscaloosa hasn’t been questioned since the Mike Shula era, the support is greater than any other program in the country and players have the resources to excel at the highest level.

But how, specifically, can Alabama return to the top of the mountain in 2022? The issues needed to be addressed live on the offensive side of the ball, beginning with play in the trenches. 

Evan Neal will likely be a first-round draft pick later this month, and even he couldn’t help last year’s offensive line play competent football. The Crimson Tide finished next-to-last in the SEC in tackles for loss allowed per game (6.93) and 12th in sacks allowed per game (2.73). That’s unacceptable for any team, but specifically Alabama, which signed 13 four- or five-star offensive linemen between 2019-21.

Saban commented on his plans after the first practice of the spring.

“There’s a lot of competition at the position, and quite frankly we’re moving a lot of guys around to try see how we can get the best five guys to play,” he said (via the Tuscaloosa News). “I’m not…


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