Alabama Football: Defensive keys against Georgia

Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama football
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

The Alabama football defense has improved dramatically over the course of the season, and is playing at a very high level to close the season. Statistically, it is an elite unit nationally and has definitely played to that standard over its past three games. For the season, Alabama ranks 6th in both yards allowed per play and yards allowed per game.

Alabama Football: Run defense remains stiff

The strength of the Alabama defense is stopping the run, which is what makes this such a tough matchup for Georgia. While the Bulldogs have a good passing game, they like to run the ball first and foremost, and they rely on that balance to remain productive. They are not equipped for a game in which they are forced to throw the ball, like they were in the SEC championship.

An Alabama front that ranks 4th in rushing defense on a per-game basis (82.1 YPG), and 2nd behind Wisconsin surrendering only 2.53 yards per carry, will look to replicate that performance on Monday night. If they can do so, Stetson Bennett and the Georgia receivers will have to play way above their heads to give the Bulldogs a chance.

Alabama Football: Question marks in the secondary

Against the pass is where Alabama has been suspect. The Tide doesn’t even rank in the top 50 in pass efficiency defense, and has been vulnerable to big plays through the air all season. Although one of the biggest takeaways from the SEC title game was Stetson Bennett’s turnovers, Bennett actually played pretty well in the contest, throwing for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Even with an elite defense, modern spread offenses are very tough to shut down due to spacing and schematic advantages, as well as new rules that blatantly favor the offense. Even an offense like Georgia, which doesn’t go full spread and isn’t very explosive relative to other teams, is nearly impossible to shut down for a full game.