As we head into the middle of the season one question continues to linger, what is going on with
our defense? Last weekend the Tide surrendered 31 pints to a bad Arkansas team, and they heard
about it from the media. I know it may be controversial to be upset about your team giving up 31
in a blowout where you score 65, however, Nick Saban expects perfection from the first snap to
the last whistle, and this weekend may be the weekend to get it right.
Missouri comes in with not much to show for on offense this year. Drew Lock is having an
average year throwing the ball only completing 59% of his passes with only 11 touchdowns, and
the Tigers run game (and season) looked good until they ran into Georgia and South Carolina,
losing both. The Crimson Tide defense can’t let Missouri RB Damarea Crockett get hot because
this will open up the Tigers passing game for Drew Lock. Alabama has been rather inefficient
when letting other teams run the ball, which has led to the secondary getting shuffled trying to
focus on the backs. This in turn has led to big plays for the opponent through the air.
While no opponent should be taken lightly, this game seems like a tune up game for the Crimson
Tide defense. There are definite wrinkles to be ironed out as the team carries a ranking of 56th in
CFB team defense to Saturday’s matchup. While the Tide may rank low on defense, they
continue to be the clear #1 ranked offense in CFB as Tua Tagovailoa continues his Heisman
campaign. Tua continues his perfection as he still hasn’t thrown an interception or taken a 4 th
quarter snap this year, and Alabama fans hope both stats stay true after Saturday’s game.
I don’t see how this offense will take any steps back Saturday, we just hope they don’t stay in the
same place. While it is impossible to think this team could get any better, look for an ongoing
battle in the backfield. While Damien Harris is a natural born leader, he still may not be the
Tide’s number one guy. Najee Harris is slowly progressing into the once in a lifetime running
back we hoped he would be, and Josh Jacobs has stunned us all with his consistency and speed.
It’s a great problem to have if you’re Nick Saban, trotting three different guys out who would be
the best player on most other college squads. I’ll be interested to see who takes the next step to
being the solo back.
Keys on offense this weekend: Tua, keep doing what you’re doing. The distribution of the ball to
all his receivers so far this season has been brilliant. If the run game can be established early this
one will be over early.
Keys on defense this weekend: We know this team can score some points, they showed us
against Georgia. That, however, shouldn’t scare you. Missouri is going to pull out all the tricks
they have this weekend so be ready for it. If the defense can stay disciplined in the secondary
they should be able to limit Missouri to under 21 points, which I fully expect them to do.
(Photo courtesy of Hannah Saad and The Crimson White)