Alabama Football: Lack of starting experience on offense sobering

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football could field a starting offense for the A-Day game with only two players having started more than three games in their careers. Nick Saban never wants to show much on either side of the ball in the spring game. That will be more true this Saturday as most of the tweaks made by Bill O’Brien’s revamped Tide offense will be kept under wraps.

The lack of offensive experience, plus a constrained playbook should allow the first-team defense to dominate the A-Day game. There is little chance the second-unit offense will have significant success against the Alabama Football first-unit defense. The Crimson Tide’s first-unit offense, though short on playing experience, has the best chance to run up points on the second-unit defense. The traditional format is often adjusted during the spring game, with some players moved between teams and somewhat equalizing the contest.

Alabama football fans always enjoy the first public look of a new Crimson Tide team. With so many starting roles to fill, that is especially true this spring.

If Evan Neal sits out the game, following an injury in Saturday’s scrimmage, three Tide starters will be missing on offense. Along with Neal, they are John Metchie and Emil Ekiyor. In that scenario, the two offensive players with the most starting experience will be Kendall Randolph and Chris Owens.

Most Alabama Football Career Starts

The pair of redshirt seniors have a total of 15 career starts between them. That number is a tad misleading, with some of Randolph’s eight starts coming in a specialty role as an extra, blocking tight end. Until the end of last season, when Owens replaced Landon Dickerson, neither he nor Randolph was what could be termed ‘regular’ starters.

Next in terms of starting experience for the A-Day game is Slade Bolden. Bolden has played in 27 Alabama football games with three starts. He has 26 receptions for 304 yards and one touchdown. The other starting wide receivers for A-Day will come from a group of Xavier Williams, Javon Baker and Traeshon Holden. Combined they have played in Crimson Tide 26 games with a production of five receptions.

In the probable starting, tight end group are Major Tennison, Jahleel Billingsley and Cameron Latu. Billingsley has four starts in his Crimson Tide career. Tennison has one and Latu is yet to start a game.

The three likely starters on the offensive line to join Owens and Randolph on Saturday are Tommy Brown, Javion Cohen and Damieon George Jr. The trio has played in 23 Crimson Tide games with no starts.

New Crimson Tide quarterback, Bryce Young played in nine games during his freshman season, with no starts.

Senior, Brian Robinson Jr. has the most game experience among the offensive players. He has played in 52 games, rushing for 1,361 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also has 17 receptions and a receiving touchdown. Brian has started just one game in his Crimson Tide career.

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Given the minimal playing experience on the Tide’s spring offense, the A-Day game could disappoint. An immediate replication of last season’s explosive offense is not expected.