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I think Saban wants balance on offense with an explosive passing game (just a passing game throwing it 20 to 30 times a game versus 40 to 50 like the big 12), and he's recruited a lot of very talented receivers. Hanks and Maze have been great for Alabama, no question... But I don't think they are the type of guys that will consistently beat a top-tier corner back and get separation on obvious passing downs if we don't run pick players or other well schemed plays. Julio could from day 1 beat a corner off of the line and make a play. I think White with a year of experience and physical development will. Bell and Norwood may get there. Excited to see Shinn and Woodson and Williams/Black/Cooper next year. There is every reason to appreciate Hanks and Maze for all of the great plays they have made over the years. And there is every reason to be excited for the playmakers we'll be putting on the field over the next few years. I think we'll be more explosive from the wideout position next year.
I am always telling my buddies about this. I think there are two reasons for this (and its just my speculative opinion):
1) We have no true mismatches at the WR position (the ones we play at least). Maze and Hanks are both about 5'9." No team is scared of our WRs so they can easily play man-to-man and rarely get beat.
2) Underdevelopment. We have brought in about 3-4 4* WRs for the last 3 years it seems like. Why haven't many of them produced? Michael Bowman seems to have been in the doghouse and Keiwone Malone transferred, but there are still other guys left. I have wondered if this is why Cignetti left? Because of underdevelopment at the WR position and we asked him to leave. And don't say he produced Julio Jones because he came in and started from day 1 and freak athletes like that don't come often.
Great comments and insight in this thread. I agree w/the OP and have been thinking the same thing all year. I just didn't have the guts to post it. This is another reason I've watched more Cal Bears football this year than I ever have...Just wanted to imagine Keenan Allen in our offense this year. Oh well. I hope you guys are right about next year and for the record I want a physical, move the chains presence at WR next year and would like to see Eddie Williams fill that role if some of the previous guys mentioned can't.
"We're modern-day gladiators, and that mental toughness is really important to have in a good team." Nick Saban
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