Alabama Football: ‘Bama Hammer’ Orange Bowl prediction, Lauri Springer


Alabama Football will face its toughest challenge of the season in the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma and must play a complete game to come out on top.

1. Alabama football must set the pace of the game

One of the best ways to throttle the number one scoring offense in the country is to keep them off the field. The Alabama football team must make it very clear early in the game they have no intention of getting sucked into a 60-minute shootout game with 120+ points scored. As reported by ESPN in September, Army was able to hold Oklahoma to a mere 28 points, their lowest all season, by dominating the time of possession at nearly 45 minutes. While scoring within the first 30 seconds of game time is exciting, Alabama will need sustained, lengthy drives to control the time of possession and keep the Heisman trophy winner on the sidelines.

Although it looks like Tua Tagovailoa will be healthy enough to play, Alabama football’s offense will need to depend on a strong ground attack. Establishing the run game early on the heels of Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Najee Harris will both set the pace of the game and give the defense time to adjust. Despite having ample to prepare and being trained by the best, Kirby Smart’s defense looked shell-shocked in the first quarter of their game with Oklahoma and another Heisman trophy winner last year. I believe we may see the same reaction, so establishing the run game early allows for adequate game-time adjustments for the defense.

2. Alabama’s defense must be patient

Nick Saban’s defense will face their toughest challenge this year dealing with Oklahoma’s fiery offense. The Alabama football defensive line will need to be patient and work collectively to get pressure on Murray and close the pocket around him. Murray does a great job constantly keeping his eyes downfield when escaping the pocket. The defensive line must prevent him from scrambling and directing traffic to extend plays.

Mack Wilson will need to have one of his best games of the season fulfilling the leadership role at the linebacker position to ensure the young guys can do their jobs well. Alabama’s defensive backs will have their hands full dealing with Oklahoma’s wide receiver core. Thankfully, the defense has been playing their best games down the home stretch of the season. While Jake Fromm and Georgia’s offense had success early, the defense locked down when it mattered in the end. I expect a similar scenario in dealing with Oklahoma.

3. Nick Saban and Tosh Lupoi will need to make crucial half-time adjustments

I think Oklahoma will give Alabama their biggest challenge of the season. It will not be an easy semi-final game like Alabama has faced in the past like against Clemson last year (24-6) or Michigan State the year prior (38-0). I am calling a close game through the first half. All things considered, I believe Alabama will win the game.

I believe coaching will be a huge factor in the win. Three-weeks of preparation and half-time adjustments will be the difference maker. The defensive halftime adjustments were clear in the SEC Championship game against Georgia. Georgia scored on their first possession of the second half, but their next 6 drives ended in a missed FG, punt, turnover on downs, or the game clock running out. This type of adjustment will be necessary to account for the offense Lincoln Riley brings out on Dec. 29.

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Lauri Springer Game Prediction: After a close first half, the Crimson Tide finishes strong with a 56-45 win.