Alabama Football: Looking on the Bright Side

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images /

A good portion of the Alabama Football fan base has been in dire straits this week. Alabama’s first loss to rival Tennessee in 16 years has fanatics distraught, and, in some cases, even hopeless. Logical reasoning will tell you that the sky is not falling for Alabama Football.

Alabama Football: Offense beginning to peak

The Alabama offense has shown flashes of potential all season, and is starting to show some consistency and balance. While it’s still not as explosive as fans would like, it is one of the most efficient offenses in the country.

This unit looked like it was well on its way to its most impressive performance of the season in the first half against Arkansas before losing Bryce Young to an injury. Alabama still posted 49 points in that game while being largely one-dimensional, but had an anemic showing the following week against Texas A&M.

With Young’s return against Tennessee, the offense seemed to get right back on track. Bryce Young threw for 455 yards, leading the Tide offense to 42 points. He continued to spread the ball around to a plethora of receivers in the process, making this team difficult to defend.

Despite falling behind early and having to take a pass-heavy approach, Jahmyr Gibbs still eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground for the third consecutive game while receiving the lion’s share of the carries.

This Alabama offense is still improving, and with Young in the lineup it is one of college football’s most dangerous units. When it’s in rhythm, this team will be difficult for anybody to hold under 40.

Alabama Football: Defense has time to correct issues

There is no sugarcoating the fact that Tennessee exposed the Alabama defense, especially on the back end. Josh Heupel repeatedly isolated speedy receivers on Alabama safeties in man coverage and beat them vertically.

The good news for a reeling Alabama secondary is that Mississippi State does not excel in stretching teams vertically. Instead, they stretch the field horizontally, with quick-release short passes that essentially function as extended running plays. For reference, Will Rogers averages a very pedestrian 7.3 yards per attempt this season, and just 6.7 YPA in his career. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker averages 10.7 YPA (second nationally) in a drastically different system.

Mississippi State’s offensive scheme plays right into the strengths of physical box safeties like DeMarcco Hellams and Brian Branch. Hellams and Branch were victimized by Heupel’s scheme, but should have no problem coming downhill and making open-field tackles against Mike Leach’s offense.

Additionally, Alabama fans should note that there are only a handful of teams in the country that are even capable of taking advantage of the Tide’s secondary in the way Tennessee did. Ole Miss is perhaps the only team left on Alabama’s regular season schedule that could potentially exploit this weakness.

Next. Bama remains college football's standard. dark

Lastly, Alabama teams under Nick Saban are typically at their best following an embarrassing loss. If the 2022 can continue this trend, Mississippi State will be in trouble in Tuscaloosa.