Alabama Football: What happened, why and what’s coming next for the Tide

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

A reeling Alabama football defense needs quick answers to battle Georgia in Tuscaloosa.

There is no point in scouring the Alabama football records, what happened against Ole Miss shows the 2020 Crimson Tide defense is one of its worst ever. It is certainly the worst in the Saban era.

For those needing validation of that claim, consider this number. The Crimson Tide’s 723 yards of offense were the second-most in Alabama football history. All those yards and the resulting nine touchdowns, yet with 1:29 left in the contest, it was a one-score game.

Lane Kiffin is good, but not as good as the 48, Ole Miss points indicate. As good as Lane’s offense was, the Crimson Tide defense assisted in many of the 48 points. Unfilled gaps, busted coverages, poor tackling angles, and confusion from the Crimson Tide aided Lane’s offensive attack. Much of the Tide’s failings were seen on the field. Other failings from the Crimson Tide coaching staff were less obvious but very much a factor.

College football has evolved rapidly. It may never be the same as when Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide won three National Championships in four seasons. If Saturday night in Oxford is the measure, the SEC has turned into the no-defense Big 12. The Georgia Bulldogs will beg to differ.

With one of the top defenses in the nation, the Georgia Bulldogs lead the SEC. In three games, the Bulldogs have allowed only 710 yards and 37 points. The averages are 236.7 yards-per-game and a stingy 12.3 points-per-game.  More impressive is Georgia is allowing its opponents to rush for only 38.3 yards-per-game.

It is true Georgia has yet to play a top SEC offense in games against Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee. The Alabama Crimson Tide has a top offense, the best in the SEC, at 51 points per game.

The statistics of three games do not offer an adequate sample size. Even so, they are troubling for Alabama football fans. The Crimson Tide is No. 8 in the SEC, allowing 30.3 points per game. Georgia has the No. 5 offense in the SEC at 36 points per game.

If the Georgia defense is vulnerable, it is against the pass. The Crimson Tide passing attack will be a challenge, given adequate pass protection for Mac Jones. But to maintain adequate pass protection, the Alabama football running game must be a consistent threat.

Steve Sarkisian may have the offense schemes and play-calling to match his superb performance against Ole Miss. But winning a shootout against the tough Georgia defense is not the same as beating Ole Miss.

Sark and the Alabama football offense will need help from the Crimson Tide defense. Few Alabama football fans are confident the defense will provide the help needed. As Cecil Hurt reminded Tide fans, the Tide defense gave up 48 points to a team with little history of winning.

"This was Ole Miss, a team that didn’t qualify for a bowl game last year."

Georgia has a history of winning. Just not against the Crimson Tide since 2007. That could change Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

dark. Next. Much learning needed in Tuscaloosa this week.

Another inexperienced defensive back will be added to the Crimson Tide defense Saturday. Due to targeting, starting safety Jordan Battle will not play in the first half.