It hasn’t been an easy new year for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Losing to the #1 Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day was not the biggest starter. Nine days later, their legendary head coach Nick Saban retires. There is confidence that new Tide head coach Kalen DeBoer can bring great success to the program. It may not be the same instant success that Saban brought in 16 of the 17 total years, but there is optimism. The key for Alabama fans is to understand patience and trust the process of rebuilding the team left by the numerous departures via Transfer Portal and recruiting. There must also be patience from Tide Nation. The Kalen DeBoer experience has to be aggressive and still compete for a national championship, but don’t expect one immediately. Luckily, he got his first victory with the arrival of his Washington center Parker Brailsford joining Alabama.
Kalen DeBoer Gets His First Victory at Alabama
Parker Brailford Brings a Lot to the Table
BeDour was one of the hottest trending coaches to play for and that was at Washington. At Alabama, his recruiting field easily multiples. It does help to bring some familiar faces on the roster. The first was former four-star quarterback Austin Mack at the cost of five-star recruit Justin Sayin. This past Saturday, DeBour got another Husky to join Alabama. Sophomore center Parker Brailsford joins Alabama to become a leader on the offensive line immediately. Brailsford was a key figure of a Husky offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award. He started all games for Washington, including the final 13 games at center.
Not only did Brailsford play great in an elite group, but he also played great individually. Pro Football Focus gave Brailsford 82.6 pass-blocking and 80.8 run-blocking grades. He led the way for one of the most dynamic and explosive offenses in college football. Brailford has a chance to get even better at Alabama after getting his first full season of play at Washington. The best part of Brailford’s development is his offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb and his offensive line coach Scott Huff followed Kalen DeBoer at Alabama. Brailford could be an instant leader and help develop the young offensive line that will be losing four starters.
How Bad Was the Center and the Offensive Line?
The offensive line was the biggest problem for Alabama since the start of the 2023 season. To get an understanding of how disappointing the offensive line played, let’s look at the numbers. The offensive line allowed 49 sacks this season, the fifth-most this season. They are among two teams in the top five most allowed sacks to account for a winning record. Milroe has been sacked 48 times in just 14 games alone, A.J. McCarron has been sacked 48 times in 40 starts for Alabama. Milroe had the second-highest passer rating in his first year starting under Nick Saban (172.2), alone behind Tua Tagovailoa (199.4). Finally, Alabama allowed the most sacks in program history. There are not too many changes Alabama needs to go through, but the offensive line is the biggest.
Since the start of the season, the center position for Alabama was a problem. Seth McLaughlin blocked well throughout the season, but the problem was in the inconsistencies of his snaps. From too high or too low, they were a factor of a negative play, or at least, a delayed play. His inconsistencies in snapping the ball were a huge factor in Alabama losing to Michigan. Going into the offseason, there were talks that McLaughlin should move to right guard after a disappointing season snapping the ball. McLaughlin decided his time at Alabama was over as he entered the NCAA Transfer Portal and chose to enroll at Ohio State on January 6. McLaughlin’s experience is critical as he started 25 games for the Tide. Brailsford doesn’t have the experience as McLaughlin, but he is already ahead of the development stage.