Alabama Football: View of offensive changes under O’Brien


Alabama Football will practice Tuesday and Thursday in preparation for its last spring session on Saturday. Most of the work will be focused on what formations and schemes will be used in the A-Day game.

Will Alabama Crimson Tide fans see Bill O’Brien’s new Alabama football offense on Saturday? The answer is a resounding no. Fans will see Nick Saban’s offense that has been developed over numerous seasons under the orchestration of different Offensive Coordinators. Bill O’Brien is one of the most experienced assistants to ever coach the Crimson Tide. He is respected as a sharp offensive mind, but no Alabama Football OC implements a new offense.

New ideas are used, changes are made. Formations and schemes are adjusted to the strengths of player personnel. Even new wrinkles are added, while some old ones are put aside. But the Alabama Crimson Tide will always run Nick Saban’s offense. Saban has embraced many new offensive ideas and will continue to do so with Bill O’Brien. In addition to an explosive offense, Nick Saban still wants to have a balanced attack producing plenty of rushing yards.

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The 2021 running back roster is such a strength its use must be maximized. Three or more running backs will rotate and catch passes out of the backfield. A recent experiment has Keilan Robinson being developed as a slot receiver. Bill O’Brien favors frequent use of two tight-ends. Jahleel Billingsley and Cameron Latu are both poised to have productive seasons. Billingsley is as much a wide receiver as a tight end. His adaptability may lead to a lesser focus on wide receivers, including sets using just two wideouts.

Steve Sarkisian’s schemes and play-calling were masterful. What Sark provided became nearly unstoppable with the best offensive line in college football, the two best receivers, the best, most versatile running back; all triggered by a young man who processed reads in nanoseconds and zipped passes with accuracy.

Can ’21 Alabama Football Offense match ’20

It is a tough act for the 2021 Alabama Football offense to follow. The odds are the 2021 offense will be very good, and just as good as Bryce Young becomes. Will it be able to crank out an average of 542 yards and six touchdowns per game as the 2020 offense did? It may not have to be so productive. An improved Crimson Tide defense may make up for any reduction – and more.

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Will all of the above be on display Saturday? It will not; not for Alabama football fans or 2021 Crimson Tide opponents.