Only once did Alabama’s defense go without a sack in a 2019 game. The same was true a year earlier, and while Nick Saban famously downplays the impact of that stat, those two games have something in common.
Of the three games Alabama’s lost in that span, these were two. The CFP title game blowout to Clemson was more than a play away from shifting the 44-16 outcome but last year’s 48-45 Iron Bowl loss to Auburn had a few crossroad moments.
And that’s only relevant today because Alabama completed its Week 2 win over Texas A&M without recording a sack.
To my untrained eye, Alabama’s gotted a lot more consistent pressure on the QB than they last season, even if it hasn’t converted into many sacks (although I’m pretty sure Christian Harris got a sack on Kellen Mond that they must have counted as a TFL). Anderson and Allen have been consistently pushing constricting the pocket, and Justin Eboigbe has been flushing the QB.
Oh, and Christian Barmore is coming for reinforcements:
“He makes a big impact,” said Alabama defensive end LaBryan Ray during a Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday. “Just to have a person that wreaks havoc and just makes big plays, just to have him back in the huddle is definitely something that’s good to have. Just to work across from him and see how he works, I think his energy, other people feed off it.”
Barmore has been dealing with a nagging knee injury since the preseason, which is what kept him on the sideline for the Tide’s opener at Missouri. He came off the bench in Saturday’s game at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and Nick Saban expects his minutes to gradually increase.
“He’ll play more and more as we go,” Saban said. “We didn’t play him in the first game. He had a role in the second game, which he did a pretty good job. Never had any issues, practiced well last week, so if he continues to progress, his role will continue to increase.”
If Barmore can get his knee good to go and start adding some interior disruption, Allen and Anderson will absolutely feast on cleaning up QBs.
“As you guys know, I am a business administration major. I’m not a meteorologist,” Dickerson said. “So I can’t tell you what’s going to happen Saturday, but whatever the game circumstances are, we’ll be prepared for it.”
Dickerson, a grad transfer who began his career at Florida State said playing in bad conditions is just part of the deal with football.
“In practice,” Dickerson said, “as long as the conditions are alright — no lightning or anything, conditions are safe — Coach will keep us in the rain so we can actually practice in those conditions.”
The folks in Vegas have certainly taken note of the forecast models.
This game is gonna get weird, y’all. Mostly, lets just put all our hope in no injuries on a soggy field.
“As an offensive lineman, the run game is what we pride ourselves on, and the past two games have honestly been disappointing. I think the biggest takeaways for us is we’re close on a lot of things. A lot of details and a lot of clean-up need to happen before we can really have a great run game, and that’s something we just have to improve on every day in practice.”
Through the first two games, Alabama is averaging 110.0 yards per game on the ground, which ranks ninth in the SEC and 64th nationally. Although running back Najee Harris ranks fifth in the entire country with five rushing scores, the senior is 17th in the SEC at 4.86 yards per carry and the entire team is averaging 3.44 ypc, which is tied for seventh in the conference.
But Dickerson said the UA offensive line takes full responsibility for the slow statistical start.
“In reality, it doesn’t involve defense or anybody else. It falls on us,” Dickerson said.
“Whether you look at yards per carry, total rushing yards, whatever stat you want to look at, it revolves around us. You can’t let other people control what you’re gonna do. At the end of the day, it’s what we have to work on as an offensive line and as an offense, and it’s just something that we personally need to handle.
“It doesn’t matter what opponent we play. It shouldn’t matter what kind of defense they run, what scheme they run. We should be able to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”
Interestingly, Alabama’s offensive line similarly struggled to run block effectively for the first few games of the 2019 season before becoming absolutely dominant as Najee Harris went on a late-season tear.
In any case, they’ve been absolutely stellar at pass blocking so far, so this group has the talent. They just have to gel together.
Tabbed by the 247Sports Composite as the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 5 prospect overall in the 2021 class, Brockermeyer quickly showed why he’s always been held in such high regard, displaying all the traits coveted at the position in his team’s win. Beck referred to him as an albatross with that unique wingspan. Then there is the terrific feet, the explosiveness, the power, the ability to bend and the tenacity. Getting stronger as the game went on, Brockermeyer wore out the Azle front.
All Saints rushed for over 500 yards in the win as Brockermeyer unleashed nearly two years of pent up aggression.
“Dominant and devastating,” Beck stated. “Watching the left side, Tommy’s side, watching defensive ends run in and out of the game is what jumped off to me through the first half of the game. They couldn’t anchor a guy on his side and their defensive front was not small by any stretch. The way he physically dominated his space gives us glimpse of things to come down the road that we’re excited to get to watch and be part of.”
It’s good to hear that Alabama’s 5-star guy is playing like a 5-star after missing his entire junior season. I especially like the albatross imagery.