Losing Trevon Diggs was a big blow to Alabama football. The Tide is only one or two more defensive injuries from even greater problems.
Alabama football has a thin roster on defense. There is a disturbing lack of depth on the defensive line and at linebacker and suddenly also in the secondary. How many more injuries to key players can the Crimson Tide defense overcome? Not many. Losing Trevon Diggs to a broken ankle was bad enough. Losing a Quinnen Williams, Mack Wilson, Dylan Moses, Deionte Thompson or Patrick Surtain II would be even worse. Losing any of the two of the above could derail the Tide’s championship dreams.
As yet, it is not known who will become the sixth defensive back in the dime, replacing Trevon Diggs. Saivion Smith is the probable new starting corner in the nickel. Smith was already coming in when Diggs rotated to star. So for now, the base and nickel secondary units have stability, albeit with less talent and experience.
In the dime formation, a new player must be counted on. If Daniel Wright had not been lost to suspension and surgery, he would have been the most logical ‘next man up’ for the Tide. Instead, it must be one of Nigel Knott, Jared Mayden, Keaton Anderson, Kyriq McDonald, Josh Jobe or D.J. Lewis.
For Alabama football fans unfamiliar with Lewis, he is a former walk-on. He earned a scholarship in fall camp. The senior was previously listed on Alabama football rosters as Rogria Lewis. He intercepted two passes in a spring scrimmage but has played only once in his career, this season against Louisiana.
On Tuesday the backups in the Tide’s nickel defense appeared to be Knott and Jobe at the corners, Keaton Anderson and Jared Mayden at the safeties and Lewis at star. Out of that group of five backups should come the sixth defensive back in dime formations. None of the five have ever started a Crimson Tide game in the secondary. Anderson has been a consistent performer on special teams.
On Saturday, Alabama football encounters the most football-flinging team in the SEC. The guy doing the flinging, Drew Lock, is adept at it. At least one member of the Alabama Crimson Tide secondary is in for a trial by fire. It could even be the former walk-on, Lewis.
If that does not send a tingle up your spine, consider this. What if the next man down is Quinnen or Mack or Deionte? While Quinnen has played great, at least Buggs or Kwon could slide inside with LaBryan Ray starting at end. Depth would be hurt but the talent level would not face a huge dropoff. From a fan perspective, replacing Mack or Deionte appears nearly impossible without a severe dropoff in talent and experience.
And that Crimson Tide fans, would be going from thin to thin ice with the temperature rising. But no one should worry, right? The explosive Alabama football offense will just score as many points as are needed. Or so we think.
What will happen? We believe the inexperienced Crimson Tide defense will soon make rapid improvement.