Alabama Football Podcast: What We Learned From The Southern Miss Game


With each passing week we’ll learn more about the 2014 Alabama football team. We’ll spot trends as they emerge and puzzle at both the positive and negative outliers. In this weekly feature I’ll highlight a handful of the lessons this team is teaching me.

Coker giving ground

Literally and figuratively Jacob Coker is giving ground in his hunt to be the starting quarterback for Alabama. In back to back games he has taken big sacks at the goal line that have almost certainly taken points off the board for the Tide. In some respects, Coker is committing the same types of blunders as Sims over the last couple A-Days. However, the rounds are live in the fall. One of Saban’s mantras is to do the little things right and for a QB, not giving up yards in a scoring situation is a big thing. Sure, he still has the live arm and grand upside, but raw potential has never been enough to win a starting job under Saban – see Cory Reamer starting ahead of Jerrell Harris.

Not revealing ourselves

How does one say this without sounding like a complete Alabama honk? The Tide is not revealing all that is available to them on offense. In reality, it’s not a hard statement to get behind. Saban has already declared that Sims is running a scaled down version of the offense and several players have commented that we’ve only scratched the surface of the playbook. We have seen what Kiffin can do with an offense and we know from our own recent experience that we have much more to offer. My conflict is that this approach is so contrary to how Saban has conducted business for so long. Rather than hide and surprise, he shows everything and lets you decide what you want to try and stop. Is this a new approach that Lane is instilling or is there really something to Blake’s limitations? Whatever the case, the Tide needs to ramp it up as they look to enter conference play.

Pressure package

There’s an emerging sign of life along the defensive front and it’s in the form of a trio of designated rushers. Ryan Anderson Rashaan Evans, and De’Shawn Hand have rotated as the rabbit rusher and several times against Southern Miss two of the three served as bookends. The pressure they can put on an offensive line and quarterback is impressive and without a doubt it can play a role in improving the play of the secondary. This is something the Tide is sure to continue and I suspect it’ll produce material results against Florida this weekend.

Celebrity fullback sighting

First there was Mount Cody and then the monster Jessie Williams, and Saturday night we saw 6 foot 7, 320 pound Dominick Jackson line up in the backfield and attempt to create space for Kenyan Drake on the goal line. This may be the ‘starting’ job that the coaches have the most fun awarding and again I think they’ve nailed the selection.

Are Alabama fans too spoiled?

52 points, 547 yards of total offense, and a 40-point win over a team that used to routinely give us fits. Yawn. At least that’s what it felt like in Bryant-Denny Saturday night. Here’s to hoping that Tide fans, myself included, can rekindle the joy that is simply to compete and win without all the extra ‘clutter’.