Alabama Football: Bama’s defensive excellence little noticed

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Last week many national college football pundits jumped on an opportunity to declare Alabama Football dead and done. That many of them picked Ole Miss to beat Alabama was no surprise. Alabama looked so bad in its win against USF that picking the Rebels was not illogical.

What galls some Alabama football fans is how rare it is for the pundits to admit being wrong. The reason some of them skip such an admission is because of disappointment when their prediction of a Crimson Tide demise fails to happen.

Instead of extolling the Crimson Tide’s excellent second-half performance against Ole Miss, much Saturday night and Sunday morning media coverage focused on the failure of Ole Miss to take down a vulnerable Crimson Tide.

The main Saturday stories coming from the college football world were about Colorado’s loss to Oregon and Ryan Day’s post-game comments aimed at Lou Holtz.

A more significant college football story gained scant attention. That story is the dominating performance of the Alabama football defense. Except for a 4th-and-23 failure, Alabama’s defense was outstanding against a very good Ole Miss offense.

Yahoo Sports included the Alabama Crimson Tide as one of its Saturday ‘winners’ after writing about Colorado first. The Yahoo story stated the result “didn’t feel as close as the final score indicated.” Yahoo made no mention of the Crimson Tide defense.

Alabama Football and ‘Work in Progress’

There are valid reasons to be surprised by the Alabama win. After the game, Jalen Milroe described the Crimson Tide as “a work in progress.” For the Alabama football offense, that statement could not be more true. Technically, at four games into the regular season, it is also true of the Crimson Tide defense, but in a much different fashion.

The Alabama football defense of Nick Saban and Kevin Steele is already one of college football’s best. With Saturday’s return of previously injured offensive players, Ole Miss was expected to have the offensive weapons to overwhelm the Crimson Tide. As Chris Low reported, Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss offensive players were convinced the Alabama football defense was “vulnerable.”

In this era of college football, no defense is invulnerable, but the Crimson Tide defense on Saturday brought back memories of legendary Alabama defenses. One fourth down play, seen below showed what to expect going forward.

For Alabama, the passive drop eight and rush three days are over. Under Kevin Steele, the Nick Saban defense showed it has the strengths and the determination to dictate the result of plays.

Next. Alabama Football Offense shows growth in victory. dark

Alabama Football is not all the way back to where it intends to be. Much work and needed improvement lies ahead. But Saturday’s performance indicated the Crimson Tide can be good enough to win the remainder of its regular season games.