Alabama Football: Defensive Questions and Non-Issues


Much has been made of the 34-24 loss Alabama Football suffered at the hands of future SEC foe Texas, and many have speculated on the Tide’s outlook going forward.

Although Bama has plenty of offensive concerns, namely quarterback and offensive line play, the defense did not perform up to par against the Longhorns either.

The biggest issue defensively was the total absence of a pass rush. The Alabama defensive line and edge rushers simply did not show up against Texas, at least not on passing downs.

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers finished the game with 349 passing yards, three touchdowns, zero turnovers, and a pristine road white uniform. He was never sacked and was seldom so much as pressured by the Crimson Tide defense.

Credit must be given where it’s due: a big reason why Ewers was virtually untouchable against the Tide was because of Steve Sarkisian’s game plan and Texas’ nearly flawless execution.

Early in the game, Ewers regularly got the ball to playmakers on the perimeter with quick throws that didn’t require a read. These quick strikes on the edge functioned as an extension of the running game and rendered the Alabama pass rushers useless. After a while, they appeared to take the wind out of the sails of the typically aggressive Bama pass rush.

When Ewers needed to drop back and wait for longer routes to develop, it almost seemed as if the Tide was hesitant to come after him. As a result, he sat back comfortably and picked the Bama secondary apart in the second half.

Alabama Football: Is the secondary a liability?

On the surface, Ewers’ 349 passing yards might be an indictment on the Alabama secondary.

However, I still view this young unit as one of the strengths of the team and believe it will continue to improve as the season progresses.

The secondary was repeatedly put in tough positions due to the Bama offense’s inability to sustain drives and the front seven’s inability to pressure Ewers.

Additionally, Texas is loaded with talent at quarterback and receiver. The Longhorns may very well prove to have one of the nation’s elite passing attacks by the end of the year. Not only are they talented, but Sark is in a league of his own when it comes to scheming mismatches in space and using pre-snap motion to get favorable leverage for his receivers.

As we have seen for several years now in the age of the spread, even the best defenses can only hope to slow down an elite offense.

Although the dam eventually broke in the fourth quarter, I thought the Alabama secondary played as well as one could ask for most of this game. It held Texas’ explosive offense to 13 points through three quarters. Additionally, 10 of the Longhorns’ 34 points in the game were essentially gifted to them by Jalen Milroe turnovers.

The pass rush remains a major concern, but the Alabama defense as a whole showed a lot of promise and was not nearly as bad as the statistics suggest. Bama held Texas to just 2.8 yards per carry on the ground, and I will continue to assert that the secondary played well considering the circumstances.

dark. Next. Early look at South Florida

If it can find a way to affect opposing passers more reliably, this can still be the best defense Alabama Football has fielded in several years.