Alabama Football Offensive Line: C
The Alabama offensive line was billed as an overwhelming strength of the team coming into the season. That has hardly been the case, as the line has likely been the team’s most unreliable unit to this point.
With Jaeden Roberts in the lineup at guard, the group showed flashes of improvement in terms of run blocking. Bama’s four running backs combined for 202 yards on 29 carries (7.0 YPC) behind the line. The Bama offensive line now must prove it can generate this type of production on the ground against higher quality opponents.
The bigger concern is the pass protection. Bama once again surrendered five sacks, bringing the season total to 31 through seven games. Many of the sacks this season have come as a result of Jalen Milroe bailing out of the pocket too early and trying to run. In this game, however, the offensive line was the guilty party more often than not.
Left tackle is still a major deficiency for the Alabama offense. Kadyn Proctor and Elijah Pritchett continue to split reps at the position, and neither has performed well in one-on-one situations on passing downs. The pair were whipped by Arkansas defensive end Landon Jackson to the tune of 3.5 sacks. Throughout its SEC schedule and into the postseason, Proctor and Pritchett can expect to face edge rushers far more explosive than Jackson.
Whether the necessary change is technical or schematic, Alabama Football has to find a way to better protect Milroe’s blind side. Otherwise, it will eventually cost the Tide a game.
Once again, the Alabama offense was unable to put together a complete game. The improvements in the running game were a night and day difference from last week, though the quality of opponent likely factored in heavily.
Bama hasn’t run the ball effectively for two games in a row all season, so next week’s game against Tennessee will be a major test. The Vols are tied with Alabama and Texas A&M as the best run defenses in the SEC (allowing just 3.0 yards per carry), so it will not be easy to establish the ground game.
Additionally, the passing game has to find its stride again. Outside of a handful of explosive plays, the passing attack just wasn’t there against Arkansas. As the schedule heats up, Milroe will have to more reliably connect on the shorter throws that keep drives alive.
To his credit, he has vastly improved in that area since week one, but there was some noticeable regression this week, particularly in the second half.