Bama offense could take a while to get rolling
Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced Monday that senior quarterback Jake Coker is expected to miss the next several days of practice due to a foot injury. With the team’s second preseason scrimmage coming up this Saturday, this news is particularly tough for Coker, who lost a similar QB battle in 2014 in large part due to Blake Sims’ performances during scrimmages.
Regardless of who wins the starting job (in hot pursuit of Coker are underclassmen David Cornwell and Blake Barnett), the Crimson Tide offense is likely to struggle at least early on this season, as only three starters from the 2014 squad return.
The offensive line is having to replace three veteran starters, and as we explored recently, there is a serious void in the receiving corps following Amari Cooper’s departure, without any obvious candidates to emerge as star playmakers.
The biggest difference-maker among the returners is likely running back Derrick Henry, who ranked 16th in college football last season in rushing grade versus Power 5 competition. His elusive rating against Power 5 competition ranked 18th, which was right around where 2015 draft picks Ameer Abdullah and Duke Johnson ranked — and was ahead of Ohio State star Ezekiel Elliott.
However, with a new offensive line and QB, Henry might have to carry a lot of the load for the Bama offense early on.