How good will the Alabama Football defense be, and how good will it need to be?

If the 2024 Alabama Football offense proves as explosive as expected, how good must the Tide defense be to contend for championships?
Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

The biggest change in the Alabama Football post-Saban era will be defensively. Alabama has lost not just its legendary head coach, but a defensive coach many to be one of college football's best of all time. It is hard to determine whether Kalen DeBoer or Kane Wommack have bigger shoes to fill.

Alabama Crimson Tide fans are more than optimistic about Kalen DeBoer's offense. Enthusiasm is driven by the belief the Alabama football offense will be explosive. Under Nick Saban, Alabama averaged 40 or more points per game just four times. The four seasons included three Alabama OCs; Mike Locksley in 2018 (45.3 points), Steve Sarkisian in 2029 and 2020 (45.7 and 48.5 points), and Bill O'Brien in 2022 (41.7 points).

Kalen DeBoer's 2023 Washington offense averaged 36 points per game and advanced to the National Title game. Alabama fans are anticipating DeBoer's schemes, with the Tide's offensive talent, will produce another 40-plus points season average in 2024.

If the anticipation is warranted, how good will the 2024 Alabama defense need to be for DeBoer to again play for a National Championship? With enough offense, a top 10 defense nationally should be sufficient, maybe even top 15, or perhaps as low as top 20.

Kane Wommack and a Top 10 Alabama Football Defense

It's not easy to measure Wommack's career success as a defensive coach. At Indiana, he made the Hoosiers better, but the defensive roster was not blessed with an Alabama-level of talent. Wommack's contribution at Indiana was recognized by his being named as one of five Broyles Award finalists.

Even harder to measure is Wommack's tenure at South Alabama. First, he was the USA Head Coach and could not focus all his attention on the Jaguars' defense. Secondly, USA's stats are somewhat suspect given the quality of many of South Alabama's opponents.

USA's defensive stats are pretty impressive. Last season, the Jaguars were No. 15 in the FBS in Total Defense (313.2 yards-per-game); No. 23 in Red Zone Defense; tied for No. 26 in Scoring Defense (21 points-per-game), and No. 27 in 3rd Down Conversion Defense (34.1%).

In the first half of Alabama's A-Day game, the Crimson Tide defense was porous. Spring games are well known for vanilla schemes and play-calling, but frequent tackling miscues alarmed Alabama fans. Given more leeway to be aggressive in the A-Day's second half, Wommack's defense improved. Spring games reveal good and bad surprises from individual players. The glorified practices are less valuable in assessing entire offensive or defensive units and sometimes as faulty in gauging position groups.

The best advice is to forget the spring game. The new Alabama football defense will be a work in progress and may not reach form early in the season. But the talented Tide defensive roster is well suited for Wommack's style. And if DeBoer's offense sizzles, good, not great defense should be fine.

Note: Stats provided by

Next. Alabama Football has filled its Portal needs. Alabama Football has filled its Portal needs. dark