The Spring Prospectus is a daily series taking a quick look at each position group before UA beings spring practice. This list of position groups will be updated with links as each one posts: quarterback, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, inside linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties and special teams.
Last season, Alabama had to get creative to find ways to get two outside linebackers on the field at the same time. It’s not the typical alignment for UA, but it made perfect sense with such strength at outside linebacker and such inexperience in the interior.
Going into 2020, UA is trying to find two good outside linebackers at all, much less ones good enough to change their personnel groupings.
Only safety was hit harder in terms of lost starters than outside linebackers, giving the Crimson Tide an intriguing position battle to monitor when spring practice begins on Friday.
Top returners: Christopher Allen (started the Citrus Bowl, among other duties in the place of starter Terrell Lewis).
Losses: Anfernee Jennings (team leader in tackles for a loss with 12 1/2 and sacks with eight) and Lewis (second in both categories, 11 1/2 and six, on his way to the NFL Draft).
Returning depth: Jarez Parks, Ben Davis and King Mwikuta.
Early enrollees: Chris Braswell, Will Anderson and Drew Sanders.
Allen has the edge on the competition, one that was clear by his usage in the 2019 season: whenever Lewis was out, be it for injury or NFL Draft preparation, Allen was the one to take his place.
If Allen holds onto that spot through the offseason, UA’s job is to find another one, with the added bonus of creating pass rushers from the position group.
Pass rushing talent was the emphasis of the recruiting class that brought Braswell, Anderson and Sanders to campus, and that could be their path to immediate playing time.
If they are to see the field as freshmen, they’ll have to beat out the experience of Davis (redshirt senior) and Parks (redshirt sophomore) to do it.