Alabama Football: After some reflection what about the Tide defense


Alabama football won big against Ole Miss gashing the Rebels through the air. The Crimson Tide defense had a rather different performance.

Nick Saban’s 24-hour rule has served Alabama football well. Soak in the satisfaction of a win and then go back to work quickly. Alabama football fans might need to consider their own rule. Don’t rush to judgment until the fresh light of a new day.

Saturday night, Twitter and message boards were filled with praise for Tua and Devonta. In some cases, even more prevalent were harsh words about the Crimson Tide defense. A frequent lament was this Crimson Tide team would have to outscore all its top opponents because the defense could not stop LSU, Auburn and Georgia.

In the clear light of the next day’s early morning, let’s consider where the 5-0 Crimson Tide stands defensively. A good place to begin is with some stats.

Ole Miss rushed for a net 279 yards. The last time the Crimson Tide gave up more rushing yards was against Ohio State in Jan. 2015. The Buckeyes rushed for 281 yards, led by a gaudy 11.5 yards-per-carry average by Ezekial Elliott. The last SEC game the Tide yielded more was the 2013 Auburn game when the Tigers rushed for 296 yards.

Every Alabama football fan remembers the outcome of those two games.

College football has changed much in recent seasons. Most fans believe the old dominant Alabama football defenses of the past can no longer be replicated by any team. Even so, if defense no longer mattered, Oklahoma or some other Big 12 team would have won a recent national championship.

If defense no longer wins championships, the lack of enough defense still causes teams to not win championships. How much defense is enough? Whatever enough is – how close is the Crimson Tide to having it?

Nick Saban was justifiably concerned the now 2-3 Ole Miss Rebels ran 88 offensive plays. Summing up the Tide defense after five games, Nick Saban said,

"We’ve had some adversity to overcome. Obviously, we’re playing some young guys on defense. We’re not really satisfied with the way we’re playing defense right now, especially today, especially not being able to stop the run effectively, which is something we have always been able to do pretty well around here."

Saban was not making excuses. He did not blame any one unit. He simply acknowledged a tough reality – an already thin Alabama football defense cannot absorb the eventual injuries of continual 88-play games. Not many teams can and this young Alabama football team is more vulnerable than normal.

Saturday night panics will not solve anything. The schedule allows time for younger players to get better and for some veterans like Terrell Lewis and LaBryan Ray to return to health. The defense will improve. Will it improve enough, is something none of us can know.

One change could be Saban tells Sark to keep scoring but perhaps a bit more methodically. That will require the offensive line to gel and become more physically dominating. The return of Deonte Brown is certainly a boost.

No more serious injuries at key positions is an almost must. Trying to outscore top teams without Tua or in a close contest, without freshman kicker, Will Reichard – banish the thought.

Next. The changing tides of college football.. dark

The bye week comes at a good time. There are five weeks until LSU week. That is ample time for the Crimson Tide to improve its defensive play.