Time to step up

Editor's note: Every Tuesday and Thursday between now and national signing day, TideNation has reviewed each position and looked at who figures to start, who could rise up the depth chart and who might be on the way. Today we'll wrap up the series and look at the overall picture for the Crimson Tide.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama's football program is gearing up for yet another championship defense. In a few short months, spring practice will begin and the newest edition of the Crimson Tide will unveil itself.

Holdovers such as quarterback AJ McCarron, linebacker C.J. Mosley and wide receiver Amari Cooper will help the transition for a team that will face the challenge of replacing star players including Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack, Jesse Williams and Dee Milliner. Eddie Lacy is gone, D.J. Fluker left early and Jeremy Shelley exhausted his eligibility. Up and down the roster, there will be less familiar faces gracing the tops of the depth chart.

For more than five weeks TideNation has looked at the forecast for each position. Today, we wrap up our analysis by looking back at the key battles that will occur during the next 213 days. The season opener against Virginia Tech in Atlanta is only seven months and one day away.