As we prepare for the 2014 NCAA Football season, one of the favorite Top Ten teams has been and will be the Crimson Tide of Alabama who comes off a highly successful season that ended with two disappointing losses in 2013. They lost big games first to the Auburn Tigers and then to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
In opening the preseason camp at Tuscaloosa there is a very competitive quarterback competition underway and several players have been suspended for team rule violations. Now Coach Saban and the Tide are focused on rebounding from those late 2013 losses and prepare for a new quarterback to take over the offense for 2014.
Jacob Coker is one of the quarterbacks in contention and makes his debut after transferring from Florida State this summer along with last year's backup quarterback Blake Sims. Both will be trying to replace 2013 Heisman finalist QB AJ McCarron. Regarding this competition, Coach Saban says there is no rush to name a starter for their August 30th first game against West Virginia.
What Saban is seeking in his new quarterback for 2014 is his decision making abilities, accuracy, and leadership, and that will take some time to sort out. Thus Saban has been holding double practice sessions as he wants to make the correct decision and give both players a fair opportunity to prove their quality. At this point, Saban said it was too early to evaluate the players' chemistry. Earlier in spring practice, Sims led the competition, but since Coker arrived he also now is throwing to the receivers.
Certainly, the quarterback position is a very big question for a team that last season was in National Title contention before the two devastating losses in their season closing.
This 2014 the Alabama Crimson Tide has a challenge as a team to rebuild its identity, in what they want Alabama football to be about. They also need to overcome the behavior issues they encountered in 2013 that included the arrest in July of Drake and Reed. The two suspended players in question are Ivory and Williams. Ivory is the only returning starter on the defensive line, while Williams was a reservist who played in seven games in 2013. Both will be able to return to the team once they complete the requirements of their individual suspensions. Saban said he has no idea when those requirements will be satisfied.
Another questionable player is offensive lineman Leon Brown, competing for the right guard spot, who is limited as a result of a foot injury for a least two weeks. Then signees McBride and Scarborough both failed academically to qualify for this first semester which was very disappointing for Coach Saban while rebuilding his team.
Thus Coach Saban and his staff have a real challenging preseason in making all the decisions that will affect the 2014 Crimson Tide and their push for another SEC and National Title. So Tide fans who bet on college football, get ready for some interesting odds at your favorite Offshore sportsbook for this NCAA FB 2014 season. The Crimson Tide will still nearly always be the favorite, but maybe not as big as in years past.