Alabama Football: A look at the ‘wides’ the Tide must cover

Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK
Aaron E. Martinez/Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK /

A few days ago, writing about possible starters at the Star position, I expressed confidence in the Alabama football secondary in the coming season. Once the new group of Crimson Tide defensive backs settles in, I predict the secondary will be a good bit better than last season.

A counterpoint to that contention is the wide receivers Alabama will face provide a reason for concern. A credible list of the SEC’s top 20 wide receivers will include three guys from Texas A&M, a pair from Ole Miss, and at least one each from LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Auburn.

The remainder of a 20-best wideout list would include receivers from Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Alabama.

Combined the SEC’s wide receiver talent is considerable.

No matter how good any receiver is, he needs plenty of help; from his quarterback, offensive line, and other teammates who must also be receiving threats. Kentucky’s Barion Brown is an outstanding wideout, but the Wildcats don’t surround Brown with enough support to take down the Crimson Tide’s defense.

Alabama Football Opponents

Alabama has two regular-season opponents with deep wide receiver groups and the offensive support needed for their wides to shine. One of the deep wide receiver groups is made of Texas A&M Aggies, Ainias Smith, Evan Stewart and Moose Muhammed III. How dangerous those Aggies will be will come down to the consistency of their quarterback, Conner Weigman, and the impossible-to-predict coaching amalgam of Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Petrino. Offensively, the Aggies could be very good, good, or not good enough.

Also in the state of Texas, another offense stands as a bigger challenge for the Alabama football defense. It is the more talented and better-coached Texas Longhorns. Every SEC coach, including Jimbo Fisher, would start Quinn Ewers over Weigman. Ewers would beat out several more SEC QBs as well.

Not only does Steve Sarkisian have Ewers, he also has 10 starters back on offense, including an intact offensive line, with one of the best tackles in the nation. The Longhorns will not be as good at running back as last season, but the Texas passing attack can and will carry a bigger load.

Looking at college football’s best wide receivers, the first two players often mentioned are Ohio State Buckeyes. Even so, Texas arguably has the best ‘four’ wideouts in the nation. The superstar of the group is Xavier Worthy. It is not hard to argue that Worthy is better than any SEC wideout, with the SEC’s best probably being Malik Nabers of LSU.

In addition to Worthy, Sark has Adonai Mitchell (who might be the Big 12’s second-best wideout), Jordan Whittington, and Isaiah Neyor. The quartet will be a heavy load for a rebuilding Alabama football secondary in week two. The Crimson Tide pass rush will have to consistently pressure Ewers.

For the record, Alabama football’s Terrion Arnold made an interception covering Worthy last season.

Next. Against Texas, the Horns will have a sizable experience advantage.. dark

About the two Ole Miss wides considered to be among the SEC’s best 20; they might not be quite so special. Both are transfers and come to Oxford with strong resumes, but they have not been covered by SEC-level cornerbacks.