Alabama Football: Three Bold Predictions for Bama-USM

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Alabama Football
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 14: Shi Smith of the South Carolina Gamecocks is tackled by Christian Harris of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Scouting Report. Defense Pitches Shutout . . . 2. player. 829. Pick Analysis

Alabama football remained on the field for 86 defensive plays last Saturday. Saban lamented the Crimson Tide could not maintain that style of play, especially as the defensive depth is razor-thin at linebacker and on the defensive line.

South Carolina accumulated 31 first downs, 459 total offensive yards, a 300-yard passer (324), a 100-yard (102) rusher and a 4.7 team rushing average. Never appearing to settle down entirely, the defense acted out of sorts all afternoon with missed tackles and broken coverages.

As defensive concerns mounts, fans are uneasy. Paul Finebaum addressed his trepidations as well,

"“Listen, you’ve lost three or four, I’m trying to remember, critical linebackers including Dylan Moses,” Finebaum said. “Now you’re starting to lose defensive linemen so I mean, I think it’s a combination of both. But when I think about the number of players — I think it’s five now — that Alabama has lost, it is beginning to send warning signs about that team that have many people concerned that they could lose a regular season game as well.”"

Four freshmen remain in the starting lineup Saturday (D.J. Dale, Justin Eboigbe, Shane Lee and Christian Harris). The time is now or never for the freshmen’s growth as the SEC schedule continues next week against Ole Miss.

The rugged defense shuts down a Southern Miss offense averaging 7.19 yards per play. Junior quarterback Jake Abraham struggles against a relenting pass rush from Eboigbe, Terrell Lewis, Anfernee Jennings, and Christopher Allen. The veteran secondary plays much better, limiting Abraham by throwing into super tight windows.