A Saban-less improved Alabama Crimson Tide defense in 2024

Is it possible that without Nick Saban, the Alabama Crimson Tide defense can be improved over last season? The answer is an absolute yes.
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So much has changed for the Alabama Crimson Tide since Nick Saban's retirement. On April 13, almost exactly 90 days since he was hired, Kalen DeBoer will unveil the new Crimson Day in the A-Day game.

No matter how little A-Day reveals about DeBoer's offense and the Tide's new 'Swarm' defense, what will be seen will intrigue Alabama fans. Under Nick Saban, Alabama teams did not show much in spring games.

It is not known how much Kalen DeBoer will be reluctant to tip off future opponents. Future Crimson Tide opponents already know about DeBoer's offenses at Fresno State and Washington, so many of those components cannot be kept a spring secret.

Most Alabama fans are already sold on DeBoer's offensive schemes and want to see them in action. Now that Kadyn Proctor has announced a return to Alabama Football, the offense has no serious holes to fill. Proctor cannot transfer in time to participate in spring football, so the A-Day Game provides multiple Tide tackles a chance to compete as a first-unit player.

Enthusiasm is building among fans that early concerns about offensive line and wide receiver weaknesses can be cast aside. If that proves accurate, Alabama's 2024 offense should be better than the 2023 version.

Contrary to excitement about the new Crimson Tide offense, Bama fans have worried the defense will take a step back. Some of that worry comes from the exit of one of college football's best defensive minds ever in Nick Saban.

Alabama Football Defense better without Nick Saban

Can Alabama field a better defense in 2024 without Nick Saban? A big chunk of high-level defensive talent from 2023 will not be on the 2024 roster. Without Dallas Turner, Chris Braswell, Justin Eboigbe, Kool-Aid McKinstry, Terrion Arnold, Jaylen Key, and Caleb Downs (and Nick Saban), how could Alabama possibly be better in 2024?

Certainly there will be growing pains, especially in the rebuilt defensive backfield. Nick Saban's old description of a 'work-in-progress' will apply to the Crimson Tide in the first half of the 2024 season. All the Crimson Tide players will be learning a new system. One or perhaps two freshmen will start in the secondary.

But it is not unrealistic to believe that when Alabama travels to Knoxville on Oct. 19, 2024, a maturing Crimson Tide defense will have what it takes to win on the SEC road. The 2024 defensive roster is deep with talent. In spring sessions, Quandarrius Robinson and Keanu Koht have stood out to the new staff. Tim Smith, Tim Keenan, Damon Payne, Jah-Marien Latham and Keon Keely are expected to lead one of college football's best defensive lines.

The secondary has been strengthened by transfers Keon Sabb and Domani Jackson. Malachi Moore and Devonta Smith, in full health, bring SEC experience to the group. First and second-year defensive backs, Jahlil Hurley, Zabien Brown and Red Morgan have already impressed in the spring.

Even more important, there is a wealth of talent in the backups at each Crimson Tide defensive position group. The Alabama Football defense will be talented, deep, and hungry. And even without Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide defense can become much-improved.