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Fall Report: Alabama

Fall Report

Brad Bohannon doesn’t make guarantees, but he has a strong feeling his Alabama program will be much improved in 2020.

Bohannon has spent the past two seasons with the Crimson Tide. And even he admits there’s been a stark difference physically from his team and the elite teams in the Southeastern Conference. The differences were obvious, and they showed in the results, too, with the Tide finishing his first season with a 27-29 overall record, followed by a 30-26 mark (7-23 SEC) last season.

The physicality difference is no longer. Bohannon saw plenty of physical hitters walk to the plate this past fall, while also seeing an assembly line of power arms take the mound. Those improvements won’t automatically breed better results, but it puts the Tide in much better position than they were in their first two seasons.

Now, it’s all about executing.

“I absolutely love our group. I think we’ve got the right people in this program,” Bohannon said. “We’ve got an SEC roster and I think it’s the first time I can sit here and say that with certainty. We’re going to look right getting off the bus and I think we have a lot of athleticism throughout the roster.

“I really do like this group and I’m more than comfortable saying we’re going to take a step forward this year,” he continued. “Will it be a small or big step? We’ll find out. But it’s going to come down to our young pitching, which I’m excited about. We do play in the SEC West and it’s arguably the toughest division in Division I athletics. I’m not ready to stamp us as a Top 15 team or anything like that, but we’ll take a step forward. In the end, I’m not really worried about everyone else. My focus is on our group, and I think we’ve got the right people in place.”

The Crimson Tide has a solid foundation both on the mound and at the plate. From an offensive standpoint, Tyler Gentry is back after hitting .310 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs last season, while fellow outfielder TJ Reeves impressed at the Northwoods League and is ready to take a sizable step forward. Speaking of improving, senior Brett Auerbach had a summer to remember, and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t hit much better than .270 during the upcoming campaign.

Things aren’t as crystal clear on the mound, but again, the Tide has solid options. Connor Shamblin had his fair share of ups and downs last season but has a big-time arm and showed out this fall, while Tyler Ras has a powerful arm and is ready to be more consistent in 2020. The Tide also has an influx of talented freshmen arms.

Now, we’ll see how much traction the Tide can get in the rugged SEC in 2020. The Tide hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 2014. And while you’d think it would be impossible for them to leapfrog other clubs in the SEC, it wasn’t long ago that people thought there was no way Georgia and Tennessee would pass some teams. UT made the NCAA tournament last season, while the Bulldogs were back-to-back national seeds and again will be a national contender in ’20.

There’s hope in Tuscaloosa, and necessary personnel accompanying it.

Let’s dissect ‘Bama’s fall workouts:

 

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