Alabama Football: Offensive struggles to pay dividends in 2024?

Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The offense for Alabama Football struggled to perform with consistency throughout the 2023 season. While it showed explosive capabilities at times and appeared to have near-limitless potential, it never fully realized this potential on the biggest stages. 

All season long, the offense would regularly stagnate due to negative plays, sacks, poor quarterback-center exchanges, and general disconnectedness amongst the unit. These flaws followed the Crimson Tide all the way to the Rose Bowl and ultimately led to its downfall.

With most of the offense presumably back in 2024, the question becomes whether or not it can take that next step. Bama reliably scored between 20 and 27 offensive points in eight of its 11 games against quality competition. While the Tide won a lot of games in this range, it proved to be insufficient in terms of bringing home a national title. 

The defense can be expected to take a small step back if NFL Draft decisions don’t go Alabama’s way. Bama could lose most of its elite secondary and both of its top pass rushers, with Dallas Turner having wasted no time in already declaring for the pros.

The Bama defense will still be a solid unit; it should return a lot of experience and production along the interior as well as All-American Caleb Downs on the back end. Still, the offense will have to take a step forward and show the ability to hit the 30-point mark against good defenses, which it may have to do to earn a title. 

Alabama Football: Jalen Milroe, Tommy Rees, & others must improve

Despite the growth he showed this year, Jalen Milroe will face skepticism and uncertainty all offseason after his less-than-stellar Rose Bowl performance. The ugly outing and season-ending loss has left a sour taste in the mouths of even the most staunch Milroe supporters. It is undeniable that Milroe has progressed in his confidence and decision-making, but he will need to take another step to be the centerpiece of a championship offense. 

Forever tied to Milroe, and to the subpar Rose Bowl effort, is offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. Assuming he returns for year two in 2024, Bama fans will expect to see improvement from Rees’ unit. 

The offensive line for Alabama Football should return mostly intact, but will have substantial question marks at center and right tackle. The 2023 O-line showed significant growth of its own, but generally was not a championship caliber unit. Eric Wolford and the line will have to be better next year if Bama wants to return to the mountaintop. 

The skill positions should once again be loaded for Alabama Football in 2024. Bama is awaiting decisions from senior running backs Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams, both of whom are reliable and have a year of eligibility available to them. Whether they depart or not, we will likely see increased roles from talented backs like Jam Miller and Justice Haynes.

At receiver, Bama could return everybody from both its wideout and tight end rooms, pending an NFL Draft decision from Jermaine Burton. Transfer exits are probably inevitable, particularly at tight end where the Tide figures to have eight scholarship players on the roster. Ideally, these portal losses will be strictly depth pieces. 

Should Burton return, he and Isaiah Bond would be one of the SEC’s best receiver tandems. Kendrick Law and tight end Amari Niblack are high-ceiling pass-catchers, and the Tide are bringing in a talented haul of receivers in the class of 2024

This offense will have the weapons necessary to be a high-powered unit. As a result, it will be under immense pressure to perform early on in the 2024 season. Tommy Rees and Jalen Milroe in particular will be under intense scrutiny.

All we can do is hope that the failures of the 2023 campaign will become lessons learned heading into year two of the Rees/Milroe experience.