Alabama Football: Defense can carry the load in SEC play

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football, at least in theory, finally has some stability at the quarterback position. Heading into SEC play, however, the offense still has questions to answer.

Can Jalen Milroe now play without pressure and avoid the costly turnovers that have plagued him thus far? Can the offensive line finally tighten up? Will the running game find some consistency?

For as long as the Crimson Tide offense remains a wild card, the defense will have to carry the load. Call me an optimist, but I think the unit is more than capable.

Although it was against lower-tier competition in South Florida, the Bama front seven is coming off of one of its most disruptive games in the past two seasons. Even with Jaheim Oatis sitting out with an injury, the defensive line utilized a deep rotation that included a lot of young promising talent en route to a 17-3 win.

Seniors Tim Smith and Justin Eboigbe displayed valuable leadership and combined for 14 tackles, highlighted by a career-high nine stops from Smith. Redshirt sophomores Tim Keenan III and Damon Payne, as well as redshirt junior Jah-Marien Latham, all saw rotational snaps and made positive contributions.

In a game that remained somewhat in doubt until the end, the most intriguing appearances were those of true freshmen Jordan Renaud and James Smith.

Smith in particular is a player that could possibly see an increased role as the season progresses. He was a 5-star recruit out of Montgomery, and made his first big play for the Tide in this game. Smith’s second quarter fumble recovery gave Alabama a spark and led to its first points in the contest.