It's the D-Line that seems to have everyone a little uncomfortable coming into opening weekend given the depth and talent at linebacker and in the secondary. "How can our ultra mobile assassins make the kill if they are bothered by pesky guards and roaming tackles?" So, I went back and watched the Kent State tape primarily to evaluate the D-Line.....and found the issues on our O-Line impossible to ignore. I'll be the first to admit It's easy to fall prey to overanalyzing since opening weekend is just a tender morsel and I am starving.
Nobody really bombed but I am looking for Chapman and Square to stand out a bit and neither did. They don't necessarily need to be Cody, but I am feeling greedy and can't help but want the D to be "epic" as opposed to merely "awesome". Jesse Wiliams held up well in the middle and showed a good push. I was getting a bit worried with some of the stuff I had read but after seeing him play I am as excited as I was when he 1st signed on. He may be the star in the middle. Quinton Dial lined up inside which surprised me given his lanky frame but showed an impressive pop on a couple of plays driving the guard into the backfield (plus a nice sack). Nick Gentry did exactly as expected which is to be a good situational nose tackle and get to the passer occasionally. This unit looked good overall, but again, they will be under extra scrutiny this year because of the extreme level of talent on the other units.
Most disappointing part of my Saturday. Roosevelt Nix beat everyone at least once (except Barry because technically Nix was inside of him on that power sweep). He is a different type of player than the we line up against in practice, since if he did come to Alabama he would have likely been converted to Jack. Still no excuse. Our big boys looked a bit slow. I think we saw a glimpse of the (eventual) starting five in the second quarter with Kouandjio (LT), Jones (LG), Vlachos (C), Steen (RG), & Fluker (RT). Warmack got benched for a series after letting a blitzing linebacker race by and put Sims on his back without chipping him on an inside screen. Once back in he played well, especially on pulling running plays where he is at his best. That said, I get the feeling he is on the bubble despite his starting experience. This unit needs to gel and be quicker to the pop. I hate seeing Trent use his super powers to get back to the line of scrimmage instead of running over a safety. Frustrating because the talent is there. Barry made some awesome blitz pickups and I loved seeing big DJ wave Jalston downfield as he paved the way over some unfortunate DB. My gut tells me this unit decides our fate this year and I am convinced they can be great.