For two significant reasons Alabama Football, Offensive Coordinator, Steve Sarkisian should ‘Pound the Rock’ in Oxford.
Alabama football has the offensive tools to explode against Ole Miss. Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith are the best pair of wide receivers in college football. Mac Jones’ accuracy on all passes and ability to connect on long throws complement the strengths of the two receivers.
Ole Miss will try to explode with its potent attack, engineered by the clever Lane Kiffin and executed by three Rebel-Black Bear-Landshark playmakers. Kiffin’s offense could be successful enough against the still-developing Crimson Tide defense for the game to be a shootout.
Counter to all of the above, steady, even sometimes slow, may be the best strategy Saturday evening in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. There will be little reason to go quick unless doing so gives an immediate advantage.
One reason for Steve Sarkisian to be methodical against Ole Miss is the weather forecast. Weather.com for Oxford, MS is projecting a 90 percent probability of rain during the day on Saturday and an 80 percent chance that night. Winds are projected to be 25-35 miles an hour and total rainfall of about two inches. That is not exactly a monsoon but is enough to negatively impact a pass-heavy offensive approach.
The path, speed and intensity of Hurricane Delta could change but currently, northeastern Mississippi is projected to be hit by it Saturday and Saturday night. One model shows it maintaining Tropical Storm strength throughout its traverse of Mississippi.
Nick Saban will be undeterred by the weather, but it might well be an opportune time to ‘Pound the Rock.’ Najee Harris would certainly approve, as would the Crimson Tide offensive line. Landon Dickerson, speaking for his teammates this week, admitted they are not satisfied with their performance in the Tide’s rushing attack.
There is another reason the Crimson Tide should not need another Record Book performance by Mac Jones on Saturday. That is the weight disparity between the Tide’s offensive line and the Ole Miss defensive line. It is about 50 pounds, based on the Ole Miss average weight of 283 pounds and the Tide’s average weight of 334 pounds. The Ole Miss defense is last, nationally, in average rushing yards allowed, at 7.11 yards. In two games, Ole Miss has surrendered more than one-third of a mile in rushing yards.
With the excellence of Tua Tagovailoa and the explosive emergence of Mac Jones, some Alabama football fans may think Sark’s offense has changed. Certainly, he adapts to maximize his player’s talents. He calls plays to take what the opposing defense gives him. He also believes the running game is important.
"I think it starts in running the football. … You have to have the ability to run the football, and when you can run the football, you can play-action pass. The play-action pass game is a quarterback’s best friend to where defenses are trying to stop the run and now you can create throwing lanes down the field for explosive plays."
Based on Sark’s philosophy, Mac Jones may become the Crimson Tide’s best ever at connecting on long touchdown passes. That’s right Crimson Tide fans, maybe best-ever, and certainly best-ever in the Saban era.
Throwing long bombs during a tropical storm may not be a wise strategy Saturday night. No, problem, the Alabama Crimson Tide can just ‘Pound the Rock’ to victory.
There have been multiple reports the LSU vs Missouri game will be moved to Columbia, MO. The storm should be a couple of hundred miles beyond Baton Rouge by a scheduled 8:00 PM kickoff. Its aftermath could make playing in Tiger Stadium difficult.