Even though the University of Alabama will have another starting quarterback this season, it may not be the biggest change on the Crimson Tide offense.
Nick Saban will also have a new offensive coordinator, former NFL head coach Bill O'Brien, to go with a new offensive line coach (former NFL coach Doug Marrone), running backs coach and tight ends/special teams coach.
There will also be new starters at running back, two of the wide receiver positions, tight end and three of the five offensive line spots. One of the two returning big men up front is moving to a new position.
Yeah, on most teams that kind of turnover would be doom-and-gloom.
But this is Alabama.
Plus, the quarterback is Bryce Young, who a couple of years ago was touted as being maybe the best prospect in college football.
"Bryce has endless potential," wide receiver John Metchie III said. "I'm really excited for him to get his shot."
Of course the last two starting quarterbacks at Alabama finished in the top three for the Heisman Trophy, and the last three are now in the NFL (two starting with the other trying to win the job).
However, Young has never started for the Crimson Tide, and due to the championship run combined with scheduling changes and COVID procedures, he didn't get the same developmental experiences as many of his predecessors.
Specifically, he played in nine games in mop-up duty. Young was 13-for-22 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown, and had nine rushes for no gain.
In terms of style, some believe he's like a right-handed version of Tua Tagovailoa, but he also has trails of Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts as well.
However, while everyone is optimistic that Young can emerge to be a star, and oddsmakers have him among the favorites for the Heisman, he's still an unproven commodity, playing in an offense that will have eight new starters and a new play-caller.
"We're not changing offenses," Saban said during SEC media days. "We've got a good offense. We've got a good system. We've got a good philosophy. Bill has certainly added to that in a positive way, and we'll probably continue to make some changes.
"But from a terminology standpoint, from a player standpoint in our building, our offense was very, very productive, and we want to continue to run the same type of offense and feature the players that we have who are playmakers who can make plays, and I think Bill will do a good job of that."
The bigger competition to watch during fall camp is for the backup role, between third-year player Paul Tyson, and newcomer Jalen Milroe. The pecking order is always important at Alabama, especially considering the way the Crimson Tide recruits and is expected to bring in another top-notch quarterback prospect next year.
Crimson Tide Quarterbacks
- Returning: Bryce Young; Paul Tyson
- Early enrollee: Jalen Milroe
- Departed: Mac Jones
This the first story in a series previewing the 2021 Crimson Tide by position