The top-ranked University of Alabama defeated third-ranked Florida State 24-7 last weekend, but the Crimson Tide has questions going into Saturday’s home opener against Fresno State. Here are four key ones:
1. Can Alabama get the running game going?
The Crimson Tide’s running game was stalled in the season opener, in large part due to Florida State’s stout defensive front. New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will surely want to get Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and the rest of UA’s deep stable of backs going this week. It starts up front, so the line will need to assert itself to begin to develop a physical identity.
2. Is the placekicking game going to improve?
Special teams created the opportunities that pushed Alabama to victory over Florida State in the opener, with a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and a forced fumble on an FSU kickoff return. But Alabama went 3 of 5 on field goal attempts, leaving potential points scattered all over the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. UA will need to find some answers here.
3. How will Alabama handle its linebacker injury situation?
No less than four linebackers were injured in the season opener against Florida State, with two of them out for the season and none expected back this week. That will lead to a shuffle of available players to fill the holes and find the right combination to put on the field. All will need to step up their games to cover the losses.
4. Will we see Tua Tagovaila?
Alabama’s true freshman backup quarterback didn’t take a snap against Florida State, which is understandable. Nick Saban said going into the season that the Crimson Tide needs to get the young left-hander some game experience early in the year, so it seems likely that he’ll make his debut this weekend against Fresno State.