TUSCALOOSA -- Monday is the start of the four-day circus known as Southeastern Conference Media Days. Alabama coach Nick Saban will be accompanied by seniors Ryan Kelly, Reggie Ragland and Kenyan Drake. There are plenty of storylines surrounding the league this offseason, but here are five topics Saban and players should expect to hear about.
1. Who's going to be the quarterback? - Saban will surely be asked about it, and Saban will surely give the same answer he gave last year when the Tide had an open competition. Alabama's quarterback battle won't be decided (publicly) until midway through preseason practice, and there's a chance Alabama won't announce it until the week of the season opener versus Wisconsin.Jake Coker, Alec Morris, Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell and Blake Barnett are the five competitors. But there's a lot of talk of this being a two-man race between Coker and Cornwell. Coker has a slight edge because he's older and has some game experience. But he hasn't taken full control of the position with Saban often citing his inconsistency as an issue. Cornwell, who battled injuries last year during his redshirt season, is finally healthy. He has all the physical tools, and has youth on his side. Last season, Blake Sims showed us that no one could truly be counted out, but look for Cornwell and Coker to be ahead of the pack. Just don't expect Saban to say that.
2. Lane Kiffin. - Year One of the Saban-Kiffin marriage produced plenty of memorable moments, including a trip to the College Football Playoff. What will the duo do for a sequel? Last year, Kiffin was charged with replacing three-year starter AJ McCarron, but found a nice surprise in Blake Sims. This year, Kiffin must find a starter at basically every skill position as Sims, Amari Cooper and others are all gone. He'll have Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake to lean on, but outside of that, everyone else is unproven.
3. Speaking of Henry... - The time has finally come for him to be the feature piece of Alabama's offense. No more T.J. Yeldon to shadow. This is Henry's offense, and in part, his team. He'll get the Heisman hype. People will gush over his combination of size and speed. But in order for Alabama to be successful as it breaks in another quarterback and a new group of receivers, Henry must put it all together and become the complete player so many believe he can be.
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4. Is the secondary finally fixed? - For the past two years, Alabama has struggled to stop the long ball. Part of that can be blamed on the team's lack of a consistent pass rush. Injuries and youth also contributed to the decline. But for the most part, the Tide’s backend just hasn't been able to hold up. This year's group is stacked with talent and experience, so there won't be any excuses. Saban and new position coach Mel Tucker have a big task ahead, but they also have plenty to work with.
5. Some big picture question. - Over the years, Saban has become the unofficial spokesman for all of college football. Reporters always try to get his opinion on the broader topics that affect college football and sports in general. A hot topic this offseason has been the talk of violence against women. Alabama took in Jonathan Taylor, who was kicked out of Georgia following an arrest for domestic violence. Taylor was kicked out of Alabama for a domestic violence arrest. The charges were dropped after Taylor entered a plea agreement. But don't be surprised if Saban is asked about it.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @Marq_Burnett.