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Offensive players to the forefront

With 17 catches for 255 yards a season ago, Bell is UA's leading returning receiver.

With spring drills set to get underway at Alabama on Friday, here are six members of the Crimson Tide offense who will be asked to step to the forefront.

WR Kenny Bell
2011 season: Caught 17 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore.
What he was asked to do a season ago: Occasional starter who maintained his spot among the top five receivers in the rotation.
What he'll be asked to do in 2012: Like Kevin Norwood, who also made his way to UA in 2009, Bell is in position to nail down a role among the Crimson Tide's top three receivers. Vertical threat who needs to show he's strong enough to separate from physical coverage and finish plays when the ball is in his hands.

RB Jalston Fowler
2011 season: Carried 56 times for 385 yards (6.9 ypc) and four touchdowns as a sophomore.
What he was asked to do a season ago: After Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy inflicted three-plus quarters of damage, Fowler curb stomped what little will remained in opposing defenses.
What he'll be asked to do in 2012: With Lacy out for spring drills, the next month will present a golden opportunity for the junior from Mobile. Of course, the same could be said for Dee Hart and T.J. Yeldon as well. We know Fowler can bang between the tackles with the best of them, but now we'll find out if he is on his way to becoming a complete back. The true junior has yet to record a reception in 24 games at UA.

OT Cyrus Kouandjio
2011 season: Saw action in eight games as a true freshman before going down with season-ending knee injury against Tennessee.
What he was asked to do a season ago: Served as the top backup to Barrett Jones at left tackle and also saw time in UA's running game sets.
What he'll be asked to do in 2012: Moving Jones to center and backfilling with Kouandjio at left tackle seemingly ensures Alabama of having its top five offensive linemen on the field. The talented sophomore will go from rehabbing a pair of torn knee ligaments to taking on the SEC's premier pass rushers.

QB A.J. McCarron
2011 season: Completed 219-of-328 passes for 2,634 yards and 16 touchdowns. The junior was intercepted five times.
What he was asked to do a season ago: Keep the offense out of negative plays and make throws when called upon. See the 2012 BCS national championship game for more details.
What he'll be asked to do in 2012: With 13 starts and a national title under his belt, McCarron is ready to take on more of the load, from both a production and leadership standpoint. Does that mean the offense will be built more around McCarron and the passing game? Nope. Barring injuries at the running back position, the running game will continue to be the bread, with the passing game serving as the butter. That said, the 2012 offense will have the feel of being McCarron's much more so than last year's unit.

WR Kevin Norwood
2011 season: Played in 11 games, catching 11 passes for 190 yards.
What he was asked to do a season ago: Provided depth behind Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks while also seeing time in UA's three- and four-wide receiver sets.
What he'll be asked to do in 2012: Three years into his development, Norwood will challenge for a starting role in the Crimson Tide's top wide receiver rotation. After getting the best of LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu in New Orleans, expectations will be higher for the redshirt junior than they've been at any other point in his UA career.

TE Brian Vogler
2011 season: Recorded one reception for six yards as a redshirt freshman.
What he was asked to do a season ago: Saw action in nine games as a reserve.
What he'll be asked to do in 2012: Harrison Jones or Malcolm Faciane could just as easily be in this spot. Between the trio of Vogler, Jones, Faciane and, perhaps, Brandon Lewis and incoming freshman Kurt Freitag, it will be interesting to see how the three spots behind starter Michael Williams play out between now and Jerry World.

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