Putting Alabama Defensive Duds in Perspective


A zoom call with reporters Monday afternoon was the last stop for Alabama linebacker Christian Harris before hitting the meeting room.

He knew what to expect from the Ole Miss mess to see the film beforehand. Time and again, Baton Rouge’s sophistication identified the biggest issue with the school-record 647-yard allowance.

“I think we had no question to do a better job,” Harris said.

Ole Miss did a great job of ensuring that it won 63–48 on Saturday night in Alabama. Lane Kiffin’s up-tempo offense is contrary to the plan that Alabama will arrive at No. 3 Georgia City on Saturday at 7 pm CT, but left this defense at a crossroads.

It was a unit that spoke of restoring pride in Tuscalcosa to become the foundation of Nick Saban’s dynasty years. The national title teams of 2009 and 2011 have withstood the claims of the most prominent defense of the modern era, but the Ole Miss game was in the second tier.

related: Nick Saban: Defensive execution, not playing call, has been the issue

And the lesson came from the last time an opposing offense did something similar to the Nick Saban defense. Current Georgia coach Kirby Smart was actually the Tide’s defensive coordinator when Auburn had 630 yards in 2014, while the Iron Bowl won the Tide after hitting the latter. It led the Tigers to half a touchdown of a second until the Tigers led by 19.

After a 55-44 win over Auburn in 2014, defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson said, “It was a dog fight.” So we really decided personally and we needed to step up to win.

The 2020 Alabama defense allowed points on the final six Ole Miss drives – four of which were touchdowns. Every time the home team got the ball, each time it understood the unavoidable points.

Auburn scored on eight of 14 possessions (with four touchdowns) six years ago while Ole Miss was 8-for-10 on Saturday with six touchdowns. Kiffin’s group sustained a long drive – rushing for 379 yards and rushing for 268 – for 268. Auburn did most of 2014 damage through the air with 456 out of 630 through Nicole Marshall’s right hand.

There was some arrogance in both defensive fortunes.

“As a defense, of course you never want to see numbers like that, especially when we prepare all week,” Harris said. “But we did deal with it as I said, of course it bothers us. They kept running madly at us – that’s why we’re really on the harp, stopping the race, so of course we’re on an edge. Want to go out with. We are going to fix everything this week and prepare for Saturday. “

Linebacker Dylan Moses pointed to mental errors leading to the breakup.

“We have all the pieces and it shows,” he said. “We have to communicate better now.”

The senior said the style with which Ole Miss plays was also a factor.

“I know that many people were not used to going fast,” Moses said. “We have a lot of youngsters on our defense, to get them this experience at the beginning of the season, I think this is a great opportunity to learn from it and just get better.”

Saban paid more attention to the execution of the defensive game plan than planned on Monday.

It only takes one of the 11 so that the entire house of cards is uprooted.

Saban patted his chest, saying, “And when everyone says ‘my bad’ once, these are 11 mistakes.” “Well, it can be yards. And we have some people who have made many mistakes, either to fix them or to replace them. “

And he hears how to deal with Harris’ thoughts.

it was bad.

“Of all the tackles we’ve done, maybe punting the ball and stopping the drive will help us get off the field,” Harris said. “If we focus on tackling and not missing as much as we do, then we will be off the field. We will be better off as a defense. “

This is nothing new or deep.

In fact, defensive coordinator Pete Golding talked about this when asked about the criticism he received for Alabama’s play in August. He said that he has taken this job That’s why Despite high expectations, not in spite of them.

Golding said that from 2019 he studied issues continuously and looked for solutions.

“Why and how do we fix it?” Golding said that at the annual annual news conference on 20 August. “One thing is fine to understand what it was, but how do you fix it? I think it was the biggest thing in all the studies that we made sure we were going back, ‘Okay, Do we have the drill set up. These are all untouched items, a lot of them in the same conditions. Have we drilled it? Have we put them in this position? We are coaching and preparing children Can we do a better job of doing that? The product we want on Saturday?

“Bottom line, it’s on me. It’s not on anyone else. I’m the defensive coordinator. I’m responsible for the defense. So I have to do a better job of preparing them, knowing those guys what to do and Have to play fast. “

The 2014 defense responded by surpassing an average Missouri offense in the 42–13 SEC championship round. The 163 Tigers never managed to come close to 14-3 while managing 31-3 total yards – 54 below his national average of 98th.

This Alabama defense will see a more traditional Georgia attack that ranks in the middle of the SEC pack in terms of yardage. First-year start quarterback Stetson Bennett is exceeding expectations with the Bulldogs offense that stabilized in the Jake Sem era. Saban noted the Bulldogs’ ability to control a game as it leads the nation in possession time.

This is not the machine of chaos that Kiffin created, but the Bulldogs also bring one of the country’s best strongholds to counter an explosive bunch of Tides.

Regardless, it would be an intestinal check for an Alabama defense that exceeded some body a week ago. How they react to the disaster will basically say a lot more than what they put in the timeout.

Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow her on twitter @ByCasagrande Or on Facebook.

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