Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama football looks to unveil 2023 identity against Middle Tennessee State

CW Archive
Alabama football players Kool-Aid McKinstry and Ja’Corey Brooks celebrate during the game against Mississippi State on Oct. 22, 2022 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

As the season opener for Alabama football against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders inches closer, there are still questions around the 2023 team. Who will be the starting quarterback? Are Alabama’s best days behind them?  

The bright lights at Bryant-Denny Stadium will be on come Saturday night, giving fans the best view on how the Crimson Tide will answer those questions.   

Replacing the production lost 

Alabama lost 21 players from last season, most notably Will Anderson and Bryce Young, who declared for the NFL Draft. But as the saying goes, Alabama doesn’t rebuild, they reload, and that seems to be the case heading into this season. 

Alabama brought in another stellar recruiting class, finishing number one in the country once again. This year, Alabama head coach Nick Saban brought in five five-star players including offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor and safety Caleb Downs, who was named one of ESPN’s top-50 freshmen heading into this season.  

“Downs, a 6-foot, 190-pound recruit out of Georgia, was the No. 1 safety in the 2023 class,” ESPN writer Tom VanHaaren wrote in his article. “He’s a talented defensive back who has already garnered hype since enrolling at Alabama. The Crimson Tide lost safeties Brian Branch and Jordan Battle to the NFL, so there are open spots. Downs has every opportunity to see the field early this fall and, given his talent level, could become one of Alabama’s better players in the secondary.” 

The team also brought in the top two running back recruits in the country in Justice Haynes and Richard Young, both of whom could see time this season. Haynes was also ranked on VanHaaren’s list, at No. 32.  

Quarterback battle 

 The battle to replace former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young will most likely not decided  until the team’s first snap. Redshirt sophomores Jalen Milroe and Tyler Buchner, alongside redshirt freshman Ty Simpson haven’t separated themselves from the rest of the pack, leaving the coveted starting quarterback position still up for grabs.  

 Saban recently decided not to release a depth chart, which means we’re going to have to wait until Saturday night to find out who it is.  

 “When we put a depth chart out, you all think that’s final, that it’s etched in stone, that it’s going to be like this forevermore,” Saban said. “I want all of our players to continue to compete, continue to compete for playing time, to try and play at the highest level. I don’t want anyone on our team to think they’re a backup player.” 

Defensive strength 

Despite the uncertainty on offense, the defense looks to be still just as strong even with new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. The Crimson Tide return star defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry and linebacker Dallas Turner who are poised to be first round picks in the 2024 NFL draft. Ahead of Saturday’s game, McKinstry said the big focus will be identity.  

“We’ve been working on the identity we want to be as a team,” McKinstry said. “Saturday we will get to show the identity that we are and make sure we have the identity we want to have as a team.” 

The No. 4 ranked Crimson Tide looks to unveil their new identity against Middle Tennessee State Saturday night at 6:30pm CT. The game will also be broadcast on SEC Network.  

More to Discover