Alabama football fans need to keep expectations in check.
With the upcoming Alabama football season, fans are ready to go. Many believe that Alabama has the best team in the SEC by far. The Crimson Tide are looking to dominate this year, and the ability to do that will depend on the defense’s improvement.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the Alabama defense. They have some true freshmen who are good enough to start, Dylan Moses is coming back and there is depth on the defensive line. However, there should still be reasons to be concerned. These facts should keep Alabama football’s hopes in check until the defense proves that they have improved.
Alabama’s leading returner in sacks is a backup linebacker
Last year’s defense had a few flaws, but a gaping hole on their team was in the pass rush. Terrell Lewis and Anfernee Jennings each got their own plays, but there was no sack production outside of them.
Alabama’s leading returner in sacks is Shane Lee with 4.5. Lee was forced to start after some injuries at inside linebacker, and he won’t be a starter in 2020. Lacking a returning sack artist should worry Alabama fans for their season opener against Missouri.
The good news is that Alabama has incredible depth on the defensive line. They also have a couple of true freshmen at outside linebacker that will have an immediate impact. Dylan Moses will also get a few sacks as a blitzer.
Alabama lost four of their top five defensive backs
The inexperience in the secondary is a legitimate concern. Talent is not the question. Alabama simply has few reps with this entire unit in practice. Patrick Surtain is the only returning player to be a regular starter from last year.
If Alabama’s secondary wants to thrive, they need immediate production by some new faces. Josh Jobe will be targeted by top SEC offenses in hopes of avoiding Surtain. Jordan Battle is the next great Alabama safety, but he needs to be great now.
Could this secondary fire on all cylinders early this year? Absolutely. It just needs to be proven in a real-game scenario. Alabama football should be excited, but we need to see the toughness proven.
Alabama football only got five interceptions from returning players
This goes along with the young secondary. Patrick Surtain is the only returning player with more than one interception in 2019. We’ll have to wait and see if this defense becomes a ball-hawking unit.
Alabama returns zero defensive touchdowns
Alabama only scored two defensive touchdowns last year, and those plays were made by Trevon Diggs and Xavier McKinney. With the Alabama offense looking to slow things down in 2020, turnovers turned into touchdowns would be game-breaking for Alabama. However, no one on the 2020 Alabama football defense scored a touchdown last year.
These worries can be subsided with one or two solid performances by this defense. However, it is not a given that everything will work in Tuscaloosa.