There was an interesting story about Mark Ingram in the Opelika-Auburn News today written by Ken Rogers. It told how the star running back had been concerned about a mis-block that had led to a sack of Greg McElroy. OTS and I went back over the tape and noticed a few interesting things.
The story describes the play resulting in a sack by Ole Miss linebacker Jonathan Cornell and defensive end Kentrell Lockett. “You know, that’s the only play I’ve been thinking about,” Ingram told McElroy according to the newspaper. “That’s the only play that’s been bothering me. I’ve been thinking about that play since it happened.”
So we went back and checked the tape. Sure enough, with six minutes left in the third quarter, there is McElroy getting pounded for an 11-yard loss.
Ingram is clearly outmatched by Lockett who has 50 lbs on him and is a full seven inches taller. He gets overpowered and Lockett is able to disrupt McElroy's throw. But the sack itself is made by Cornell who nails McElroy after running completely unimpeded through the Alabama backfield.
The goat of the play isn't Ingram, it's Alabama tight end Preston Dial who seems to have some kind of brain fart right there in the middle of the field. He makes no attempt to block Cornell or to be ready for the dump off pass to save his quarterback. It's an abysmal effort and we are just lucky McElroy wasn't seriously hurt on the play.
Yet, while Ingram may not be responsible for that particular set of grass stains on McElroy's jersey, he had a lot to do with some that got put there in the first quarter. On 1st and 10 at the 11:16 mark, McElroy takes the snap for a passing play and has just a moment to scan the field before his facemask is full of Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy.
But this time it is Ingram's missed block that leads to the sack and loss of three yards. He immediately realizes whats happens and rushes back but it's too late. And it's this play that has stuck in his mind after the game.
"When you get the quarterback hit pretty hard or a play doesn’t work because you missed your blocking assignment, it kind of sticks with you more than those good plays," Ingram told the newspaper. "I kept rewinding it and rewinding it again. ... I want to get better and take advantage of the mistake that I made."
Aside for the confusion about the play Ingram refers to, the story is a superb peek into Ingram's progress as a player. He explains a bit about how Glen Coffee helped him improve his game last year and how he's been able to use that on the field this season. It's also got some wonderful insight into the strategy Alabama employs to make the running game work. RBR says, "Check it out."