Camp Opens: March 9
Spring Game: April 14
Fresh off its second BCS National Championship in three seasons, Alabama will use the spring to try to refocus the players on the ultimate goal – back-to-back titles. Alabama lost some key components off of last year's 12-1 team that went on to take down LSU in the BCS National Championship game.
But anyone who thinks Nick Saban won't have the Tide ready for another highly successful season hasn't watched this guy work. Now, the last time college football had a consensus repeat champ was Tom Osborne's Nebraska squads in 1994 and 1995 (or you could count USC's championships in 2003 and 2004, but the Trojans shared the 2003 crown with LSU).
So the Tide are looking to stake a claim to something extraordinary.
Stability Factor (1 = chaos; 5 = rock solid): 4.5
With the 5- and 4-star talent that pours into Tuscaloosa on an annual basis it's an easy call on Alabama. The Tide should compete for an SEC championship, so what do they need to do in the spring? There's plenty and the Alabama fans are hoping to see some positive results at the spring game on April 14.
Under the Microscope: Linebackers
With the loss of All-SEC linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, the Tide need to find two up-and-comers to take over for two of Alabama's top three leading tacklers.
Now we all know that Saban's team is loaded with talent on defense and he'll find the right pieces, but you don't just pick out two new players and say you've replaced Hightower and Upshaw.
It will take some getting used to, but Alabama will fill this void.
Locked and Loaded: Quarterback
A year ago it would have seemed almost laughable to consider A.J. McCarron and the quarterback position to be a strength. But when Alabama took the shackles off McCarron in the championship game he delivered.
McCarron's spring should be interesting as he will be tutored by quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier, who also coached Jake Locker. It will be interesting to see how McCarron and the other QBs respond to Nussmeier.
Jockeying for Position: Defensive Backs
Alabama will be without shutdown corner Dre Kirkpatrick, and safeties Mark Barron and DeQuan Menzie in 2012. Therefore, safety Robert Lester becomes the unquestioned leader of this unit.
Safety Vinnie Sunseri established himself as a future star for the Crimson Tide as he finished with 30 tackles and will likely take on a larger role.
The corner positions aren't locked down yet, but it's a good bet that John Fulton and Dee Milliner will be the starters when the season begins.
Name to Know: Dee Hart
Dee Hart, a 5-star prospect, missed the 2011 season with a torn ACL. But he's rehabbed well and is ready to become the next great Bama running back.
Hart is fast with unbelievable field vision, and the spring will help the coaching staff decide if he can be the workhorse they need. If not, they may use him at receiver in 2012.
Spring will be a success if...: Alabama can develop depth and stay healthy
OK, every program hopes to accomplish those two goals during spring, but that's what you need and expect from a program at Alabama's level. For the Tide to remain on top they will need to keep key players like A.J. McCarron and Eddie Lacy healthy, while finding back-ups and future starters.
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