Alabama Football: Most important remaining position competitions

[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Alabama Practice August 12
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Alabama Practice August 12 /
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Alabama Football
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More problematic than a new QB starter is the Crimson Tide is not settled at either right tackle or center. Offensive lines are not plug-and-play units. While the QB is making pre-snap reads so are the offensive linemen. The center tries to coordinator the assignments of his linemates, but the guards and tackles are also making reads, and adjustments all the way up to the snap. Building offensive line chemistry takes time, no matter how talented is the group.

Alabama Football Offensive Line and Secondary unsettled

Chris Owens and Kendall Randolph may be the starters at center and right tackle in the opener. Their years in the program make them logical choices. But instead, it might be junior, Darrian Dalcourt at center and freshman, J.C. Latham at right tackle. Or Owens might the right tackle starter. Dalcourt is in his third Crimson Tide season but saw little action last season, beyond special teams. The offensive line is unsettled enough, it will not be a polished unit when the season begins.

Another key position is the safety starter to fill in for DeMarcco Hellams. The injured Hellams could be back for Florida. It is unlikely he will return for the Miami game. Brian Branch is expected to take the starting safety role alongside Jordan Battle. Branch has been a Tide preseason, practice star. Expectations were Branch would likely be the ‘dime’ back, but with Hellams out, Branch is best used at safety. There are four or five guys with a chance to be in six DB packages. With Josh Jobe and Jaylin Armour-Davis expected to start at the corners, the others are Kool-Aid McKinstry, Kyhree Jackson, Terrion Arnold, Marcus Banks and Kristian Story.