Alabama Football: Six early questions heading into Iron Bowl week


Alabama football heads into Iron Bowl facing more than a few questions. Let’s consider six, early Crimson Tide questions needing answers.

Every Alabama football fan knows anything can happen in Jordan-Hare. One thing that has become a constant is Gus Malzahn coaching for his job. The line will be tight but it really doesn’t matter what odds are posted. It is another big Iron Bowl and a must-win for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The game will be scrutinized from every possible angle over the next several days. Bama Hammer gets an early jump with six iron Bowl questions needing answers.

Question No. 1 – Who will be healthy on the Crimson Tide defensive line?

Raekwon Davis, D.J. Dale and Phidarian Mathis missed the Western Carolina game due to injuries. Of the three, Dale (twisted knee) and Mathis (undisclosed) will probably be able to play. Neither may be 100 percent, but few players are fully healthy at this point in the season.

Big Kwon is a question mark, not based on what is known, but on what has been rumored. He has an ankle injury. Rumors have said it is broken. The most common rumor is the ankle was only sprained. Another rumor is it was a high ankle sprain and he quickly had surgery for a tight rope repair.

There is even a less plausible rumor that LaBryan Ray will be medically cleared to practice in the early part of the week and could possibly play against Auburn.

Christian Barmore left the Western Carolina game and went into the medical tent. He left the field under his own power. There is no solid evidence Barmore incurred a serious problem. More than a few Alabama football fans think Barmore should be starting.

Question No. 2 – Can the Crimson Tide defense take away the Auburn rushing attack?

The Tigers rushed for an anemic net 84 yards against Georgia. Bo Nix was the leading rusher with 42 of those yards. Given the youth and inexperience of the Crimson Tide defense, holding Boobie Whitlow and D. J. Williams to less than 50 yards, as the Bulldogs did, is not likely.

But even without a true freshman at quarterback for the Tigers, take away much of Gus’ running game and the Tigers are toast. The Crimson Tide needs to make Nix throw often.

Question No. 3 – Can Mac handle the pressure of the Auburn pass rush?

The Alabama football offensive line has been pretty good in pass protection this season. Even so, it has been leaky at times. Mac Jones could get rattled. The hope is Steve Sarkisian has a game plan to negate any Auburn pass rush. Sark has been good all season. He will need to be very good against Kevin Steele’s defense.

Question No. 4 – Can Will Reichard play?

With the development of Ty Perine, Reichard may not be needed to punt. Having Reichard available for any field goal outside of 35 yards would be a plus. Of course, if the game comes down to a field goal kick, the Tide is not close to a statement win.

Question No. 5 – How badly does the Tide need to beat the Tigers?

Any answer is a guess. No one can predict how the Selection Committee will view a close Tide win compared to a ‘statement’ win. Our guess is the minimum needed is double-digit points, with a two-touchdown win being preferable.

Question No. 6 – How many times will the Tigers secondary get away with pass interference?

More than a few! When they are guilty so frequently in games, the officials are not going to call most of them.

Next. Mac was better than expected. dark

Check in often this week. The Bama Hammer staff will be all over everything Iron Bowl.