The Alabama Crimson Tide officially opens its national championship defense as the outstanding football program begins spring practice on Friday. It will be Alabama's first spring practice since 2019 as last season's practice time was cancelled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hours before it was scheduled to start.

The 2021 team loses several key pieces from its title winning 2020 team and therefore has several questions to answer ahead of the new year.

1. Who will take over for Mac Jones as starting quarterback?

Last season Mac Jones took the nation by storm, leading the Alabama offense to unparalleled production, an undefeated season and a national championship. Jones passed for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns and the Crimson Tide was fourth in the nation in yards per game and first overall in total touchdowns scored.

After maximizing his value as a player, Jones leaves the Capstone with his eyes on the NFL, leaving the starting signal-caller wide open Alabama.

Most expect prolific recruit Bryce Young to take the reigns and lead the Alabama offense this season. Young served as the primary backup to Jones in the 2020 season, seeing action in seven games passing for 156 yards and one touchdown in mop-up duty.

The former 5-star recruit and Gatorade California Player of the Year will face competition from Alabama-native and Bama-legacy, Paul Tyson. The great grandson of Paul "Bear" Bryant saw action in one game as a true freshman in 2019 but did not get on the field last year. The former 4-star recruit will try to make the most of his chance this spring.

Lastly incoming freshman Jalen Milroe will try to make his mark on the quarterback competition. A 4-star, dual-threat quarterback, will try to win the team over in spring practice, similarly to how Jalen Hurts did his freshman year.

The quarterback battle won't be decided in the spring but the future winner has a great chance to separate himself with a strong showing in practice and at the annual "A-Day" game.

2. How will the new coaches gel with the players and one another?

Nick Saban has become accustom to losing coaches each season, the 2020 offseason was no exception as Saban lost his offensive coordinator, several assistant coaches and even a slew of analysts.

He replaced them with talented and accomplished coaches from all over the country and even the NFL to keep the program moving in the right direction.

How quickly the new coaches assimilate into "The Process" and how well they can communicate with the players in the program will have a direct impact on the success on the field.

We won't know how well the coaches are doing until the games begin in the fall but its important to start the spring off on the right foot.

3. Who will emerge at inside linebacker next to Christian Harris?

Christian Harris became the alpha for the Alabama defense last year and he enters the new year with a vacancy next to him in the middle of the defense. Alabama has several candidates that could take over the second linebacker spot, making the competition in spring practice high.

Alabama could turn to Shane Lee or Jaylen Moody to fill that position as both players have seen playing time in their careers. The Tide also boasts Demouy Kennedy, Jackson Bratton or incoming freshman Ian Jackson and Deontae Lawson as potential options to man the middle.

What questions do you have as Alabama opens up spring practice and officially kicks off its national championship defense?

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