Friday, August 22, 2014

Alabama Analysis: CB play will decide fate of 'Bama secondary

While Crimson Tide fans and media pundits continue to talk about Alabama's quarterback controversy, and rightfully so, arguably the biggest concern for the 2014 Alabama squad is the secondary.

For yet another season, most notably at the cornerback position, justified cause for concern is still warranted. As was the case in 2013, Alabama won't enter the season with a proven lockdown corner.

Expect the Crimson Tide to utilize a host of players in the secondary this season, especially if the core group is not as productive as the coaching staff would like.

Prominent players

Landon Collins
Eddie Jackson
Cyrus Jones
Nick Perry
Geno Smith
Maurice Smith
Bradley Sylve
Jarrick Williams

Emerging talent 

Anthony Averett
Jonathan Cook
Jabriel Washington

Tony Brown (True Freshman)
Ronnie Clark (True Freshman)
Marlon Humphrey (True Freshman)
Laurence "Hootie" Jones (True Freshman)

Departures from 2013

Deion Belue
HaHa Clinton-Dix
John Fulton
Jai Miller (Left the team)
Vinnie Sunseri

While losing HaHa Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri is a substantial blow to the Crimson Tide secondary, the bright spot is found in the positions they held. Safety...

Fortunately for Alabama, the safety position, both free and strong, will likely be the strongest point of the secondary for yet another season. With players like Landon Collins, Nick Perry, Geno Smith, and Jarrick Williams, UA is in solid hands.

In respect to the cornerback position, as noted earlier, when fans and pundits talk about the Tide secondary, they're really just talking about the lack of proven leadership and success at cornerback.

While Deion Belue and John Fulton are the two departures from the 2013 squad, with all due respect and honesty, both players struggled. To say that Belue and Fulton will be missed will likely not be the case, considering that neither player, at least in 2013, proved to be irreplaceable assets at corner.

As of right now, it would appear that Cyrus Jones and Bradley Sylve will get the starting nod at the corner spots (base defense) entering the season, but as mentioned, expect the Tide to use a heavy rotation, especially if the named starters prove to be ineffective. Look for Eddie Jackson and Maurice Smith, who both saw respectable action last season, to play a significant role for the Tide this fall. In respect to freshmen, one certainly can't eliminate the possibility of Tony Brown and/or Marlon Humphrey getting an opportunity, especially if the upperclassmen fail to get the job done.

From top-to-bottom, the Crimson Tide secondary, most notably the safeties, will be solid, but as mentioned ad nauseam, the real areas of concern are the corners. At least for the time being, the days of a lockdown cover man such as Dre Kirkpatrick or Dee Milliner, seem to be over. Someone, whether it be an upperclassman like Bradley Sylve, or a youngster like Eddie Jackson, will have to prove they have what it takes to stay on the field.

Guarantee, without a shadow of a doubt, 'Bama oppositions will test the edges until the Tide defensive backs can prove they're able to make plays on a consistent basis.

Unit rating: 7.5/10

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