A few thoughts and notes from Alabama's 100th straight blow out of the Tennessee Volunteers.
A first half throttling turned into another second half snore fest but this time the fans chose to stay the entire game. I wonder what changed their mind? The Alabama offense and defense dominated like we expected and the game was never in doubt.
If you looked at the game stats alone and knew nothing else about this game, your initial impression may be this was a relatively close game. Tennessee passed for 195 yards and ran for an additional 127. With help from a long run to open the 2nd half, UT averaged 4.5 yards per carry, which was the most the Alabama defense has allowed since A&M grabbed 5.2.
The Bad (or how about the not great?)
I wasn't particularly impressed with Cyrus Jones at CB. He made several mental mistakes which caused more than one big play for Tennessee. One in-particular came in the first half where Jones was in man coverage and followed his man across the field and then inexplicably came off his man to follow a crossing route...Well, that left his man wide open and UT got a nice gain. Not a huge mistake against the Tennessees of the world, cause they aren't very good, but LSU will be licking their chops at opportunities like that. Hopefully Sylve returns for the LSU game cause I'm not sure Cyrus is the answer, yet.
Our run defense also looked spotty at times. Again, the 127 yards is well below UT's 197 a game average but the 4.5 yards per run isn't what you want to see. Several times Neal gained 4-5 yards running up the gut, which is something I haven't seen in awhile. Of course, that could be due to the fact Ivory was out. The UT offensive line is probably the best we'll see all year but there's no excuse for giving up a 43 yard run to Neal in the 3rd. (I believe it was Cyrus Jones who took a bad angle and gave up outside contain).
Kenyan Drake's fumble at the one...For all his talent he's showing a propensity to fumble the ball inside the five. He needs to cut that out...like now.
Tennessee had wide open receivers all day but the dropsies on 3rd down stalled drives. That has to be somewhat of a concern....WHERE IS EDDIE JACKSON.
How about the fans? They stayed the entire game, were loud late in the game when Tennessee was facing a 4th and goal and showed the support our coach asked for. Good job, y'all.
I heard there was a student at the game who had a sign that read, "How much do you HATE Tennessee? A) With every fiber of your being? B) A x 1000? If you know that fan, there's a TSIO RBR T-shirt waiting for them..just email me a picture of you with the sign at the game and it's yours.
Landon Collins' pick six was a thing of beauty. Our safeties actually may be better than the Tennessee wide receivers....
Kevin Norwood....Wow, his catch late in the 3rd when he was falling backwards and made the catch stretching out is probably the 2nd best catch by a Bama WR this year.
The Alabama offensive line should get a lot of love after this game. The Tennessee defensive line are absolute behemoths and our guys controlled the line of scrimmage, were able to get leverage and kept AJ's jersey clean for most the game. Alabama continued its balanced offensive attack, passing for 275 and running for 205 and was generally.
In the end, you can't really complain about a 45-10 victory, especially against the Vols, and maybe this is just my nervous old self showing, but I saw enough yesterday to leave me worried about LSU and Auburn.
With a much needed off week before LSU, Alabama has a chance to rest and prepare for what should be an absolute war in Tuscaloosa in two weeks. LSU hasn't looked particularly good that last two weeks but don't let that fool you, they are still a formidable opponent. The LSU offense will be able to attack our defense in ways no one has been able to all year- both in the passing AND running game. I expect LSU to be highly motivated to play the role of spoiler and end Alabama's dreams of a three-peat.
We have plenty of time to analyze this game in the next coming weeks but for now savor the victory and gloat as much as possible..