After the Florida State game and the injuries the Alabama program began to feel it’s way along in the wake of unprecedented injuries. Nick Saban stated this week in his long career he had never seen so many injuries to one position in one game.
Alabama tried a former walkon outside linebacker James Mosley at the jack and used a true freshman Chris Allen on the other. There were a number of other players used outside but none of them were effective rushing the passer. FSU didn’t give them much chance either with the typical quick pass approach we see from lesser opponents. The tactic keeps your quarterback upright but it’s clear that beating Alabama means down field passing and they are clearly conceding this possibility. Alabama didn’t blitz any in this game as they wanted to see who could produce pressure on their own.
Overall the defensive effort was about typical for a cupcake after playing a big game early in the season.
Alabama offensively was effective on the ground but not particularly so in the passing game. Alabama’s offensive line is still struggling with pass blocking, something they are going to have to clean up should they have any dreams of making it to the playoffs. Jalen Hurts has taken more than his share of the blame for the weak passing attack but he has got to have time in the backfield for any of that to happen and so far he’s just not been getting it.
Backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa played some in this game and demonstrated two things. One he is not very good at handling the heavy rush like Hurts is, and two that he’s a better passer. He sees the field better and he gets rid of the ball faster and it’s on the money for the most part. Tag will in time be a better quarterback than Hurts, I think as early as next season but for now Hurts is the starter. It’s also clear that the staff feels Hurts is a running quarterback only, not an NFL style drop back passer and they are going to call his number often no matter who the opponent is. Hurts is thickly built so It’s possible he could withstand more of that than you’re average quarterback.
In addition to Tag, Najee Harris got a number of carries and showed he is the real deal. He had no break away runs but his speed and vision are obvious to see. I look for him to increase his roll as the Tide continues to hold down the mileage on Harris and Scarborough, a luxury few teams can take advantage of.
Levi Wallace has taken over as the starting corner, a position he has truly earned. It’s unfortunate that Trevon Diggs continued to suffer mental lapses in his game. Hopefully in time he will take back over. Alabama continues to rotate liberally on defense.
Alabama next faces Colorado State, a team with better personnel than FSU so the testings gets harder from here from week to week. Alabama badly needs Rashaan Evans back but he’s no good if he’s not healthy. Anfernee Jennings is also needed but his prognosis is unknown at this point. Alabama really needs to start seeing some continuity on the offensive line this week. It would be nice to see running back Joshua Jacobs with a few carries as well to start his process of returning to the game. Alabama appears to have decided to redshirt a few guys. Most notably linebacker Vandarius Cowan who entered camp with some health issues. Defensive lineman LaBryan Ray may also redshirt. They had tried him at Jack but apparently they decided to stick with what they had.
There is however the feel good story of James Mosley, the walkon brother of former Alabama All-American and current Baltimore Raven CJ Mosley getting his first start as well as Levi Wallace who’s father grew up in Tuscaloosa and willed him the dream of Crimson Tide football. Also Matt Womack the thee start recruit from Mississippi won SEC lineman of the week with his performance. He barely held off freshman Jedrick Wills from taking his job and he is apparently trying to make every snap count. At this point I wonder if he shouldn’t’ move to Guard and take Cottons place and bring in Willis. Alabama needs to clean up the blocking or they can not expect to beat the SEC elite.