Alabama Football: Most interesting aspect of Mississippi State game

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

It has been some time since a Mississippi State game has generated such anticipation from Alabama football fans. The reason actually has nothing to do with the Bulldogs. Instead, it is about replacing a recent bad memory with a good one.

In a general sense, the Alabama Crimson Tide Homecoming game will be interesting to see how the team responds to a loss. There are widespread expectations Crimson Tide players will seek some redemption and find a bit of it with a strong performance.

Defending a Mike Leach offense is often challenging. It will be again Saturday night, even though a Leach, Mississippi State team has never scored a touchdown on the Crimson Tide. Leach’s 2005 Texas Tech team did not have much more success against Mike Shula’s team, with the Red Raiders scoring only one TD in the 2006 Cotton Bowl.

Though the Leach offense is predicated on spreading the field and primarily using short, quick passes, Alabama got pressure on Will Rogers last season. Will Anderson Jr. made four sacks and added some uncredited hurries in last season’s game. Can the Bulldogs, blocking only four (and maybe just three) Crimson Tide defenders give Rogers a cleaner pocket this season?

Unlike Hendon Hooker, the Alabama defense will not have to worry about containing QB runs. Instead .it will be in attack mode.

Suggestions from Alabama football fans

Most interesting will be Nick Saban’s decision on packages and personnel in the Tide defensive backfield. All week Alabama football fans have called for changes in the secondary. The core of most suggestions has ben on getting DeMarcco Hellams off the field.

Suggestions vary but most fan ideas begin with moving Brian Branch from Star to Safety and benching Hellams. Step two in such an adjustment would be using Malachi Moore at Star. Other suggestions have been using Branch at Safety and Kool-Aid at Star, with McKinstry’s cornerback position being taken by Eli Ricks or Khyree Jackson. Like Hellams, Moore also got beat by the Vols, Jalin Hyatt.

Added to fan suggestions is what should be done when the Tide prefers a dime formation. In the Tennessee game, dime packages were more effective than nickel ones, and at times the Tide dropped eight guys into coverage. If the Crimson Tide can get pressure on Rogers with three rushers, the Bulldogs will have no response.

What will Nick Saban do? Even the Tide fans with the most football knowledge don’t know enough to predict what Nick Saban should do. What we can know, and demand is for the Alabama football defense not to give up 52 points to any team.

The Tide will not Saturday night, and the Bulldogs will do well to score three touchdowns. Most interesting will be how Nick Saban adjusts, if any, in terms of personnel. Whatever the score the Bulldogs will keep tossing footballs. It should be a game opportunity for the Tide to test some tweaks.

Next. Mississippi State Offensive Preview. dark

Once the game is in hand, Alabama will have an opportunity to audition one or two defensive backs, with the Tide’s first unit defense.