Opponents Should Fear 2009 Alabama

So why should college football fear the 2009 Crimson Tide football team? First of all, two words: Nick Saban. The Sabanator, St. Nick, Coach Satan, whatever you want to call him, his imprint is definitely now ingrained upon this team.



With more top-flight recruits being reeled in by college football's best fisherman, Nick Saban is gathering both bigger and better ammunition to be fired at teams in any other color than Crimson.

Combine this with an Alabama coaching staff that's not afraid to put a true freshman on the field, and you have tremendous depth coming in at all positions. Saban is the kind of coach who doesn't worry about losing a redshirt year. He knows he can just go out and get more to take their place.

His relentlessness in recruiting is that of legend, and the NCAA had to write new rules to keep other coaches from dying trying to keep up with this Energizer Bunny of a recruiter. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he has a speaker under his pillow at night playing recordings of high school athletes 40-yard sprint times and bench pressing numbers.

This story originally appeared at BleacherReport.com

Secondly, this is one of the nation's youngest teams and it was number one for much of last season. Only losing nine seniors, not all of whom were even starters, means this is a team with experience where it counts.

So why does this article need to be written in the first place? Can't the people get the fact that Alabama is back, and back to stay for a while? Apparently not. On message boards of rival fans, they bring up all kinds of "weaknesses" that will hurt Alabama. Well, let's discuss them and get rid of them one by one.

Alabama is losing its senior quarterback and doesn't have an experienced backup.

Yes, we are losing John Parker Wilson, a great game manager, but he is not the best quarterback we have in the stable. They are Greg McElroy, a five-star recruit and winner of the Texas high school championship game, and Star Jackson, a four-star recruit who can throw and run like a halfback.

Both will open the game up, as both have stronger arms, more foot speed, and more elusiveness than Parker. This apparent weakness will actually be a strength next year.

The offensive line is gone and Alabama can't play smash mouth football anymore.

While it's true that Alabama will be hurt with the loss of most of its prolific line, good substitutes are there to help fill the holes they left.

Chance Warmack, a big 6'4", 330-pound offensive lineman out of Atlanta, Georgia; Kellen Williams, a 6'5,"295-pound OT from Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia; and all-world offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, who was not a five-star only because they couldn't assign more, will fill the void left by Andre Smith just fine.

Coming back to play center is Evan Cardwell, with a very solid experienced backup in LG Mike Johnson. So the Tide is not only reloading quite nicely, but doing so for many good years to come.

Now enough with myth-busting, let's get back to why teams should fear the Crimson Tide. Next reason can be summed up in just one word: defense. Alabama has it and other teams should fear it.

Alabama lost just two starters from one of the nation's best defenses in 2008. Plus, the Tide gained a much better position coach, James Willis, to help with the young linebackers and brought in an old NFL workhorse, Sal Sunseri, from the Carolina Panthers. Sanseri worked with Saban before at LSU and Willis comes from Auburn.

With these new coaches, Bama's defense, already tough, may now be a total roadblock for opposing teams to try to surmount.

With the signing of the nation's top runner, Trent Richardson, to go along with the stable of talented Alabama running backs, along with a receiving corps led by the Julio Jones, can you afford to leave the middle open?

Alabama's offense will create mismatches at all positions against most defenses next year. It will truly be a two-headed monster as opposed to the smash mouth team it was for most of last year.

A versatile offense and an unmovable defense will spell trouble for all the teams the Tide encounters next year and for years to come. If it hasn't begun already, let the fear begin.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Reporters from BleacherReport.com will occasionally contribute articles for BamaMag.com

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