Alabama Football: Facing vulnerabilities easier than fixing them


For Alabama football fans the reality snapshot provided Saturday night is difficult to understand. In key areas, Alabama was outclassed by the Longhorns. Preseason predictions about dominating opponents evaporated as the Crimson Tide was unable to make a single Longhorn a__ quit.

On Monday Alabama fans cringed when Greg McElroy said the Crimson Tide “is more vulnerable than ever.”

McElroy had an irrefutable explanation for what he meant.

"Areas for Alabama that were supposed to be strengths coming into this year did not play like strengths this past weekend."

Those strengths were supposed to be a bulldozing offensive line and a consistently disruptive pass rush. The Tide’s offensive line was not a complete bust in getting a push on Texas. Most of the success came early in the game, with little success after the half. Too often, the Tide’s front was unable to impose its will on Texas. In addition, the Tide’s pass protection was an issue on the majority of passing plays. The offensive line also committed five penalties, including one that nullified a touchdown pass from Jalen Milroe to Jermaine Burton.

What was expected to be the most fierce pass rush in college football was virtually a complete fizzle. Like everybody else, I spent the offseason touting the Crimson Tide’s outside linebackers, and that (especially when three were used together) they would be unstoppable. Against Texas, Alabama did a good job against the run on the interior but did almost nothing to affect Quinn Ewers. Part of the reason was Sark’s schemes often got the ball out of Ewers’ hand quickly while working the edges. But zero sacks and only a few mild pressures by the Tide defense was a major failure.

Fixing the Alabama Football Problems

Much work is needed for the Crimson Tide to improve in these areas. Nick Saban appears to believe they (along with other weaknesses) are fixable. Trusting Saban should always be a default position, but Monday’s comments by multiple Crimson Tide players were disconcerting.

In fairness to the players, none tried to avoid accepting the many shortcomings. But in summary, the reasons offered for losing were more than a little troubling. It was said, practices leading up to the Texas game had less energy and focus. One comment implied players took a win over Texas for granted.

I am not using quotes because calling about specific players is of no value. But if Alabama was not mentally ready to play Texas, the collective judgment of the team is in doubt. On Monday, in a Tuscaloosa News article, Chase Goodbread wrote the Texas game was no wake-up call for Alabama. Goodbread’s correct contention was that only elite teams need wake-up calls.

Alabama Football was well short of elite against Texas.

On Monday, Nick Saban said, “this is not about the attitude of the players.” Assuming, as we should, that Saban is right, maybe Monday’s player comments can be explained another way. Perhaps they were so shocked at how poorly the team performed – that they didn’t know what to say.

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The season is young. Growing pains can continue for a few more weeks and Alabama Football can still rack up wins.