Alabama Football Secondary: B
Even without senior leader Malachi Moore, the Alabama secondary played well against the Razorbacks. Freshman safety Caleb Downs and senior safety Jaylen Key tied for the team lead with seven tackles, though both committed costly penalties that extended Arkansas’ first touchdown drive.
Terrion Arnold added four tackles and his first career sack for the Tide. Unfortunately, he had a lot of difficulty getting KJ Jefferson on the ground. Arnold likely would’ve had three sacks in this game against any other quarterback, and was doing everything in his power just to hold on to Jefferson.
Though it made for a classic Saban quote in the postgame, keep an eye on Kevin Steele to dial up that corner blitz again this season.
Alabama Football Special Teams: B-
Will Reichard and James Burnip continue to play at an All-American level for the Crimson Tide. Reichard hit his lone field goal attempt, a 30-yard boot, and three extra points to surpass Daniel Carlson as the SEC’s all-time leading scorer.
Coming off of an injury, Burnip didn’t appear to miss a beat. His seven punts went for an average of 49.9 yards, with five of them traveling over 50 yards.
However, Arkansas punter Max Fletcher had an even better day.
Perhaps spooked by a couple muffs earlier in the season, Kool-Aid McKinstry was incredibly cautious as a return man. At times, it appeared he was just refusing to field the ball, which kept bouncing and rolling deep into Alabama territory.
For the game, Fletcher averaged an insane 53.9 yards per punt with a long of 70, and pinned the Alabama offense inside its own 20-yard line four different times.
McKinstry was named to several preseason All-American teams as a punt returner, but he does not pose a threat to opposing teams if he won’t field the ball.
With the Tennessee Volunteers rolling into town this week, the Alabama defense is preparing for another physical test in Bryant-Denny.