TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When questions and concerns arise surrounding Alabama’s 2009 football team, the offense typically comes up first.
The Crimson Tide have potential issues in replacing three offensive linemen along with quarterback John Parker Wilson and running back Glen Coffee.
And like everything else this preseason, Alabama coach Nick Saban has said the 2009 Tide offense is surrounded by construction equipment. Who will step into the starting jobs is not as much of a mystery as what they will be doing.
Saban isn’t about to abandon his pro-style offense for the trendy spread, but the offense of his third Alabama team won’t be an exact replica of his second. In order to make a shift in offensive philosophy, Saban said there would have to be the right people in place.
“I think you have to recruit to it,” he said. “And we’ve tried to recruit to something a little bit different. If we had the right players to do it, we’d certainly do it.”
First-year starter Greg McElroy is the exact opposite of the kind of mobile quarterback Saban identified as the most defining characteristic of a spread quarterback. The Mike Shula recruit is well aware of his lack of speed, so he will be looking to get the ball to those with the swift feet.
In the passing game, the McElroy’s top target is no secret. Where Julio Jones lines up could be the wild card intended to confuse opposing defenses that are sure to put multiple bodies on the sophomore.
Wide receivers Mike McCoy, Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks all have a shot at being additional weapons along with tight end Colin Peek who is still shaking off the effects of a stress fracture in his foot.
Within the ball-control offense that ruled last season, the Tide showed it was unafraid of spreading carries around. Even without Glen Coffee, there will be plenty of competition for time in the backfield.
Returners Mark Ingram, Roy Upchurch and Terry Grant will all factor into the battle for the No. 1 job along with star freshmen Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy.