Alabama’s secondary looks quite different from what we saw last year. Patrick Surtain was the only returning full-time starter. Jordan Battle and Josh Jobe are new full-time starters, but they had made a handful of starts and appearances. The Star, or nickel back, is completely new, however.
True freshman Malachi Moore was a 4 star recruit who graduated from high school early, set on enrolling early. But Alabama found itself with one too many players after more guys returned for 2020 than expected, so Moore had to delay enrolling to make the numbers work. Moore kept preparing, though; and he was ready to go for fall camp. He earned the job before the opener and has started every game for the Tide.
3rd and 6: It starts early for Moore (#13). Alabama played a lot of dime defense this game, and this play is no different. Moore is on the slot receiver towards the bottom in press man coverage. He gets right on the receiver and stays on him across the field. The quarterback somehow gets a pretty accurate ball off despite facing impending doom from Will Anderson (#31). But because of how tight his coverage is, Moore is in perfect position to swat the ball away to force fourth down.
3rd and 4: Moore is over the slot receiver towards the top. He reads the receiver and sees him setting up to block Josh Jobe (#28), and he reacts immediately. Moore changes directly smoothly and pushes to take away the screen. He reaches the receiver right as the ball gets there and knocks the ball loose. Even if the receiver had hung on, it would have been a tackle for loss.
2nd and 10: Moore drops and doesn’t allow the slot receiver a clean release down the seam, and he stays in his zone. He gets his eyes back on the quarterback and sees Will Rogers going to throw to the running back floating in the flat. Moore closes quickly, and the back barely has time to collect himself after the catch before Moore is smashing into him five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Moore doesn’t bring him down on his own, getting some help from Brian Branch (#14) and numerous others; but he never let go of the back.
2nd and 7: Moore comes on a nickel blitz, and it turns out to be the perfect call. State runs a draw, and Moore hits the hole right where the running back wanted to go. Christian Barmore (#58) got good push from his nose guard spot, so the back has nowhere to go. Moore wraps him up and gets an assist from Barmore, who has shed his block.