Against Texas A&M, the Bama defense looked off-kilter for much of the first half, giving up 17 points before the break. This stretch included several long completions of 30+ yards as the Tide surrendered explosives to Moose Muhammad III, Evan Stewart, and Ainias Smith respectively. It also gave up a touchdown pass to tight end Jake Johnson on a busted coverage.
The Alabama Football defense would tighten up in the second half, giving up just three more points the rest of the game. Though Texas and Texas A&M have very talented groups of receivers, Bama will face even better groups this season, including LSU and a potential CFP opponent. It can’t give up large chunks of yardage and points to such opponents, as the offense for Alabama Football isn’t necessarily built to win a shootout.
Alabama Football: Running quarterbacks causing issues
A week later, the Bama defense had another lull on homecoming against Arkansas. The Tide got out to a quick start and took a 24-6 lead midway through the third quarter. Bama had held the Arkansas offense to just 102 yards of total offense on its first nine drives and appeared to be in cruise control.
A series of mental lapses and some poor tackling allowed the Hogs to gain 146 yards on its next two possessions, scoring 15 quick points and making a lopsided game suddenly much closer.
Two third-down penalties kept the Razorbacks’ first touchdown drive alive. On the next drive, Arkansas moved down the field courtesy of some heroics from KJ Jefferson. The Alabama defenders could not find a way to get the big-bodied quarterback on the ground, and he improvised for a couple big plays before eventually throwing a touchdown pass.
Finally, Bama’s most recent game against Tennessee represented the worst first half of the season for the Alabama defense. It gave up scoring drives of 75, 79, and 80 yards in the first half to give the Vols a 20-7 halftime lead.
While it wasn’t getting any help from the offense, the Crimson Tide defense surrendered big plays to receiver Squirrel White and struggled to contain quarterback Joe Milton. Even amidst these lapses, the Bama D displayed excellent growth.
It was very stout against the run in short yardage situations, an area where it was deficient in the fourth quarter against Texas. It also harassed Milton to the tune of three sacks and one turnover in the second half after the Vols’ QB was allowed to be comfortable early.