While 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram wreaked havoc on opposing defenses with his powerful running style over the previous three seasons, Julio Jones provided Alabama with a constant deep threat.
With both players no longer around, however, running back Trent Richardson and receiver DeAndrew White will be looking to shine.
The second-ranked Crimson Tide look to win a 10th consecutive season opener when they face Kent State at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
Ingram rushed for 13 touchdowns - tied for the sixth in the SEC - during an injury-riddled campaign and Jones finished second in the conference with 1,133 receiving yards as Alabama went 10-3, capped by a 49-7 rout of Michigan State in last season's Capital One Bowl.
The Tide, who finished third in the SEC and 22nd in the country with an average of 444.1 yards in total offense, might not be as potent with the voids left by Jones and Ingram, who were selected No. 6 and No. 28, respectively, in the NFL draft.
With Richardson and White settling into their roles, though, there may not be too big a drop off.
Richardson's 6.3 yards per carry last season ranked fourth in the SEC, but he never truly emerged from Ingram's shadow. With the backfield job all to himself, many are expecting big things from the bruising back.
"To me, Trent has always been one of the guys," tight end Michael Williams said. "I know he's been a backup but he's been a leader on this team since Day 1...it will be very exciting to see him start being that main back and get most of the carries. I don't think he'll disappoint at all."
Coach Nick Saban doesn't seem too concerned with how Richardson will adapt to his increased role.
"I don't see a big difference," said Saban, who played defensive back at Kent State from 1970-72. "Trent is who he is, and he's always been a good leader, a hard worker and a guy that affects other people because of the kind of person that he is. Now that his circumstances have changed, and he can be the lead dog at running back, that doesn't really create a new person.
"He's always been a good player because of who he is."
White, meanwhile, continues to compete with Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks for a starting role, but the redshirt freshman could immediately see plenty of playing time with Hanks sitting out the first two games due to NCAA participation rules.
"It's a real good indicator when his name keeps coming up that he's progressing very well," Saban said of White, who won the Ozzie Newsome most improved freshman award in the spring.
"He's one of the most difficult guys that we have to cover. He's done a pretty good job of being consistent catching the football."
Richardson and White will likely make things easier on both AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims, who continue to compete for the starting quarterback job. A decision is not expected to be made until both players see the field.
"I don't want any player over there looking over their shoulder like, `If I make one bad play, they're going to pull me out of the game,'" Saban said. "That's not going to happen."
Defensively, the Tide return 10 starters from a unit which finished tied for third among FBS teams with 13.5 points allowed per game. They'll look to slow down Golden Flashes quarterback Spencer Keith, who enters his junior season ranked second in school history with a 58.2 completion percentage.
Keith threw for 2,212 yards, eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions as Kent State posted a 5-7 record for its fourth straight losing season. The team is hoping to see some improvement under new coach Darrell Hazell, though.
The Golden Flashes, 0-21 all-time against ranked opponents, have been outscored 134-10 in their four most recent meetings with ranked teams.