Alabama Football: Canes will try to make Bryce Young beat them

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Miami Hurricanes know what they must do to slow the Alabama Football offense. Any chance for an upset depends upon negating effectiveness in the Crimson Tide rushing attack. If Manny Diaz can force Bill O’Brien to depend on Bryce Young to win the game, the Canes might have a small chance.

Last season the Alabama Crimson Tide was No. 30 in the FBS averaging five yards-per-carry. Najee Harris shouldered a heavy load of the Tide’s rushing attempts and averaged 5.8 yards. As talented as the Tide’s deep, 2021 backfield is, it may not have a ‘Najee’ in it. Jase McClellan averaged 10.7 yards last season but with a sample of only 23 carries, that stat is not significant.

At least at the start of the 2021 season, the Crimson Tide’s new offensive line probably will not get the push it did with Alex Leatherwood, Deonte Brown and Landon Dickerson. Leatherwood and Brown started every game last season and before getting hurt, Dickerson started 11.

If the Canes hefty defensive front can handle the new Tide O-line, the Miami front seven has a chance against the Tide rushing attack. If the opposite happens and Alabama Football offensive lineman can get to the second level often, the Miami linebackers will struggle.

The Canes have speed in starting linebackers, but not much size. Only one, Corey Flagg Jr. weighs more than 212 pounds. Flagg has size at 234 pounds, but as a freshman backup last season, he made only one solo tackle. Stopping the Tide running game may be so important to Diaz he will have safety Bubba Bolden sneak into the box when the Canes expect a run. Bolden is four-year guy who can cover and physically challenge running backs.

Earlier in the week, Diaz talked about defending the Crimson Tide.

"The key with defending any young quarterback is how do you do against the run game…It is easy for the quarterback to turn around and hand the ball off. We have to make it hard for them to run the football on us and to that point, you have to get a quarterback off his first look…It is about finding a way to make that quarterback go through his progressions and see if he can do it."

Miami fans are convinced more defensive depth will mean a stiffer defense than last season. The impetus Diaz had for taking over the DC role was the next-to-last 2020 game embarrassment of yielding 554 rushing yards to North Carolina.

The problem for Miami with a ‘stop-the-run’ strategy is twofold. One part is they don’t have the linebackers to shut down the Tide run game. The other part is, in order to slow the Tide rushing attack, the cornerbacks won’t get as much zone help from the safeties. Maybe Miami will take that gamble while risking Bryce Young and the Tide’s new receivers picking them apart.

Whatever schemes Diaz uses defensively, the Canes will have to be risk-takers on both sides of the ball. Conservative offensive and defensive approaches will allow the more talented Crimson Tide to control the game. Following a conservative scenario, the Canes would be trying to avoid getting beaten badly.

dark. Next. Reasons for counting on a better Tide defense

In order for the Canes to have a legit upset chance, the Crimson Tide will have to help them. Any team, even a Nick Saban-coached Alabama Football team can make enough mistakes to beat itself.