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Jumbo Package: Defense, Offensive Line focus on weaknesses after Florida game

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. There was undoubtedly some eventful film study after the Florida game, and Saban spoke about it.

“Drew Sanders did OK in the game,” Saban said. “I think we all could have a done a little bit better job of playing the option. We focused a lot on quarterback runs. We focused some on the option. I think there were times in the game where we didn’t play the option correctly, so therefore as coaches we’re responsible for that.”

Saban said Florida threw a few different things at Alabama after playing two non-Power 5 teams to open the season with a more vanilla playbook.

“But you’ve got to adapt to those things and play things on principle,” Saban said. “And at times we didn’t do that very well. And we weren’t very aggressive. We didn’t get off the field on third down, especially in the second half.”

This is a good point, and perhaps we should pump the brakes just a little before we declare the defense irredeemable. Mullen discovered that the speed option had some success and that Alabama was struggling to play the assignments. Once that happens and the linebackers get stressed about getting to the edges in time, that action can work like a jet sweep in opening things up inside. This certainly doesn’t excuse some of the poor angles and inability up front to handle double teams, but it does have an overall effect on the run game. If what we saw on Saturday is going to be Florida’s identity for the rest of the season, teams that see them later on will likely be better prepared.

Saban also spoke about Quandarrius Robinson getting to return to the team after his DUI. As usual, I will embed the entire press conference at the bottom.

Emil Ekiyor was frustrated with himself for the penalty that likely cost Alabama a TD in the second half.

“It’s part of our identity to punch it in on the goal line,” Ekiyor said. “Not being able to do that is a shot at the offensive line and we have to do better. We just can’t do that. We’re on the one-yard line. We have to score. It’s just unacceptable. So going forward, we’re going to make it a point to do better in those situations. It just wasn’t acceptable. We have to execute better.”

Alabama settled for a Will Reichard field goal after Ekiyor was flagged for a false start with the offense lined up to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

I’m on record as not being sold on PFF’s college analysis, but most anyone can define which hole a runner went through, and the right side of the line has actually been good in the first three games as far as run blocking goes. The pass pro, of course, is another story, though most of the rush has come off the right edge.

Mark Schlabach is still bullish on the Tide.

Well, if we’ve learned anything in the first three weeks of the season, it’s that the Hurricanes aren’t that good and the Gators might actually be better than expected. Since when did beating the No. 11-ranked team in the country on the road, with a first-year starting quarterback no less, become such an alarm bell?

Doubt the Crimson Tide all you want. This isn’t the first time Alabama’s defense has looked shaky en route to winning a national championship.

Last, Christopher Smith believes, as most do, that Ole Miss now presents the greatest threat to Alabama on the regular season schedule.

It seems unlikely that starting quarterback Haynes King will recover in time for this game in College Station. And unless Johnny Manziel has another year of college eligibility, I no longer expect Texas A&M to present Alabama’s toughest challenge, despite the game’s location.

I’ll give that title to Ole Miss. The Rebels boast the sixth-ranked offense in the country according to SP+, just a fraction behind Florida. The Ole Miss defense has improved and the Alabama offense has declined since last season’s 63-48 thriller in Oxford. This year’s matchup is in Tuscaloosa, and the Rebels have a bye week to start preparing.

More importantly, Matt Corral, who threw 14 interceptions last season, will finish September without throwing a single one.

This will be one to watch, for sure.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.