Tide Takes: What is Your Panic Button Meter At?

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban coaches the players during practice at Thomas-Drew Practice Fields in Tuscaloosa, AL on Friday, Aug 18, 2023.

Every Monday right here you can read Tide Takes, where we’ll get into a different topic on the Crimson Tide, break down the previous game, preview the upcoming game, and everything in between. In this week’s edition, we have less than 12 weeks until kickoff and still some questions remaining about the team, namely at the quarterback position. So let’s assess the panic meter:

We talked about this last week. No matter who ends up starting at quarterback this season, Bryce Young is gone. For now, the ridiculous run of elite quarterback play Alabama has been on for the better part of the last decade is over. Not to mention the loss of the best defensive player in the country as well in Will Anderson.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t reason to be hopeful about this year’s Crimson Tide team. The biggest reason for optimism, in my opinion, is the fact that every game that would be considered difficult for Alabama is going to be at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide have only lost eight games at home in Nick Saban’s time at The Capstone.

The second big reason to have hope for the season is the fact that outside of the quarterback position, I’d contend that Alabama gets better at just about every position on the football field. The wide receiver room should be improved. The offensive line play should be better. While you do lose Jahmyr Gibbs at running back, you still have five guys who you’d feel confident giving the ball to.

Then there’s the defense. The depth at interior linebacker is extremely strong and will be led by Mobile Christian’s Deontae Lawson and Georgia transfer Trezmen Marshall with great options behind both in Jihaad Campbell and Justin Jefferson.

Kool-Aid McKinstry is back at corner, and I am of the belief that Terrion Arnold will take a huge leap this season opposite of him. Then there is star freshman Caleb Downs at safety, who there could not be more hype around. There is reason to be excited about this defense.

The third reason for optimism is changes at both coordinator spots. It became clear last season on both sides of the ball that it was time for a change. Bill O’Brien’s offenses, even with the best quarterback Alabama has ever had, had more three and outs than Alabama has ever seen in the Nick Saban era. On defense, Pete Golding folded in the biggest moments last season.

Kevin Steele and Tommy Rees offer fresh prospectives and new ideas to get Alabama back to playing the style of football they had become accustomed to. A ground and pound offense that will run it down your throat along with a complimentary defense that is going to limit opposing offenses and give teams trouble.

So when asking what the panic button is at, in my mind, I’ll say a 5 out of 10 right now. This team is far from a sure thing. If you told me they are going to go 9-3, I wouldn’t be shocked, but in the same breath, I will not be surprised if they don’t lose a game in the regular season.

There seems to be a national narrative that the dynasty is over in Tuscaloosa, and you can be sure that the team hears the noise and are using it as motivation this season. No, this is not Nick Saban’s best team. Not by a long shot.

But you’d be foolish to count them out.