Crimson Keys: Alabama vs. ULM


Bama Hammer looks ahead with Crimson Keys to this weekend’s matchup: Alabama vs. ULM

The twelfth ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (2-1) are coming off of a massively disappointing loss last week to the Ole Miss Rebels and will look to regain some confidence and rebound against the Sun Belt’s Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (1-1). In 2007, ULM upset Alabama in what was, by far, the biggest upset in the Nick Saban era of Alabama football. This is the first time that Alabama has met ULM since that year.

ULM was destroyed by Georgia in their season opener and defeated FCS Nicholls State in the next game. The Warhawks are led by quarterback Garrett Smith who has already thrown for 576 yards and 5 touchdowns this season.

Back to the Basics
One thing that Alabama has to get back to, more than anything, is having control of the football. I mean not turning the ball over. After five heartbreaking turnovers against Ole Miss, the Tide needs to take care of the football and play efficient football. The Alabama defense, which did not force a turnover against Ole Miss, needs to go after the football and force some turnovers because down the stretch they are certainly going to need to do that to win some games later in the year.

Pound the Ball
I say this every week, but I say it for good reason because King Henry is in the backfield. The offensive line struggled massively at times last week, especially Ryan Kelly who was abused at times. I don’t think there is a defense in the country that can stand up to this offense if Henry is pounding on them for four quarters and once again Lane Kiffin, for some reason, got away from that last week late in the game when it seemed that Ole Miss’ defense was gassed. Kiffin needs to feed Henry and send a message to the rest of the SEC that they will be leaning on their biggest asset going forward. Also, Kenyan Drake needs his touches. Drake is far too talented to not get involved in the game, and in more ways than just a handing him the ball. Drake can play all over the field and Kiffin needs to take advantage of that.

Coker Needs to Take Control
Jake Coker seems as if he has taken control of the quarterback position after his performance against Ole Miss and even though he rallied Alabama from behind twice during the game, he still made some horrible errors including two costly interceptions. Coker has already been named the starter for this weeks game and if he is going to take a step forward in being the permanent starter, he needs to play efficient and have control of the offense against ULM. Too many times this season Coker has struggled to get the offense set and his throws have been late at times as well. Also, his deep passes have been atrocious this year and with ULM likely keying on the run all game, Coker will have his opportunities down the field. He needs to take advantage of this and make some plays.

This week’s game is about getting back to the basics, the team picking itself up, and moving forward. Last year after losing to Ole Miss, they won out the rest of the regular season, won the SEC Championship, and made it to the College Football Playoffs. It is time to duplicate that and get things going.

Alabama plays ULM at 3:00 PM on the SEC Network. Following along here for updates all day Saturday for coverage of the game.