Well, for all the handwringing around Alabama’s demise (and trust me, there’s a lot), at least one publication still thinks the Tide has the best defense in the country.
Top Defenses, through Week 7— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) October 18, 2022
• Opponent-Adjusted, Per-Play
2 Iowa State
4 Georgia Tech
10 Texas A&M
11 Ohio State
19 South Carolina
20 Penn St pic.twitter.com/ZIzCJ7e2KR
Alabama fans may not like to hear it, but gone are the days of defense. Even the very best defenses can and will get shredded by good offenses. It’s the way of the sport now, and it won’t change any time soon.
If you missed it during the broadcast, this was hilarious:
I'm sorry, did this Tennessee lineman just vomit and turn it into an intimidation tactic...? pic.twitter.com/WyFBkICwTp— Joey Hayden (@_joeyhayden) October 15, 2022
And for his part, Byron Young took it in stride:
“We were actually talking right before he threw up,” Young said with a grin. “I don’t remember what we were talking about but then he looked away for a second and he just threw up. And then he looked at me.”
And Young’s response?
“I just told him he was nasty,” Young said.
The acclaimed “cheetah” package, with one defensive lineman and three sack specialists, actually charged Tennessee’s other turnover. Turner was lined up and broke inside, hitting the quarterback into an overthrow and eventual interception. But with Tennessee’s tempo offense, there were fewer chances to substitute.
This was something I noted during the game - not specifically the cheetah package thing, but the fact that Tennessee’s offense was based on trying to snap the ball as fast as possible to prevent substitutions.
From about 2013-2017, that tactic was all the rage after Auburn beat Alabama using it in 2013. Nick Saban adapted his defense and by 2016, he had pretty much developed a counter to the strategy. Teams have, for the most part, stopped using it. And now that Gus Malzahn is out of Auburn, the Tide hasn’t gotten their annual practice at it.
I think the had become a little too reliant on sub packages again, and it led to too many bad 1v1 matchups getting caught on the field.
And, again, despite the doom and gloom, Alabama still has a trio of mid-season All-Americans:
Sporting News on Tuesday announced its midseason All-America team, and Alabama was represented with three players on the team in linebacker Will Anderson, running back Jahmyr Gibbs (as an athlete) and cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry (as a returner). The Crimson Tide joined Georgia and Ohio State to lead the country with three first-team selections apiece.
Will Anderson had a dud of a game against Tennessee, but he had been on a strong pace before that. And Kool-Aid and Gibbs continue to be the Tide’s most explosive weapons. For what it’s worth, I think Kool-Aid should be All-American as a cornerback too.
And Bryce Young is obviously right there... he just missed a game and a half with injury. Plus will always be graded on a harsher curve due to winning the Heisman last year.
Every time that Alabama loses, you hear people all around saying that the Alabama dynasty is nearing an end. It is quite the same after the Tide lost 52-49 to Tennessee.
ESPN analyst Greg McElroy, in his experience in and around the program, said not so fast.
“We’ll be fine, the world is not coming to an end,” McElroy said on “The Paul Finebaum Show.” “We have seen teams struggle in the past. I only have to think back to last year in which we won by 7 against Arkansas at home and looked awful against A&M at times.”
It’s no surprise that McElroy has no doubt in his former coach, the man who did help him win a national championship.
McElroy did, however, note that it is a little concerning that the same things that have plagued the Crimson Tide in past weeks is what costed them the game against the Vols, but he believes that the players seeing the cost of their mistakes will get through to them.
We sometimes hate on GMac for trying to hide his inner homer, but he definitely let it out here when it coincided with reason.
In 2011, Alabama’s offense was so utterly putrid that they lost to and LSU team that couldn’t even score a TD. That team won a natty.
In 2012, Alabama’s defense fell apart trying to defend Johnny Manziel, AND they couldn’t score at the end. That team went on to basically break college football by winning a 3rd out of 4 championships and crushing Notre Dame.
2015? That vaunted defense gave up 43 points to Ole Miss in a loss, and was declared dead by most every media outlet around.
2017? That loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl was one of the most pathetic beatings I’ve seen an Alabama team take in Saban’s tenure, even if the score didn’t look too bad.
Even the undefeated 2020 team (still the best team that college football has ever and may ever see) gave up 48 points to a bad Ole Miss team and 46 to Florida before steamrolling everyone in the playoffs.
Does that mean this Alabama team is destined for greatness? Definitely not. They have very real issues that are totally psyche related. That’s something that they may be able to figure out... Or they may not. But the precedent is there that Nick Saban teams have often recovered from horrid games to go on and obliterate the rest of the competition.
In recruiting news, Alabama is vying for yet another top cornerback out of Lakeland, FL.
The decision date is locked in for Lakeland (Fla.) High five-star cornerback Cormani McClain. The Top247’s No. 1 cornerback will announce his college decision on Oct. 27 with the ceremony at the RP Funding Center beginning at 6 pm (EST).
“He’s ready to get it over with,” McClain’s mother Tikisha White told 247Sports.
Florida is the 247Sports Crystal Ball favorite. Billy Napier and his staff currently sit on the country’s No. 9 recruiting class. Alabama has the top class in the land and Miami has a strong haul at No. 11. More on McClain’s process in the video above.
The nation’s #2 overall recruit is mostly thought to be a lock to stay in-state and go with the Gators, but Alabama has had a whole lot of success recruiting top DBs out of Florida in recent years, so keep an eye on this one.
In hoops news, Alabama had a “secret” scrimmage with TCU yesterday and managed to get themselves blown out. Of course, Charles Bediako and Nimari Burnett weren’t playing.
The Alabama men’s basketball team was defeated by the TCU Horned Frogs, 99-69, in a scrimmage Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas, according to stats posted on the NCAA website.
The Crimson Tide was led by 5-star freshman forward Brandon Miller, who scored 33 points on 12-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-10 from three, and pulled down nine rebounds in 33 minutes.
Word on the street (and the general Bama twitter rumor mills) is that Brandon Miller has consistently looked like not just a superstar, but a once-in-a-couple-of-decades talent...And is a polished player, not just a raw talent like J.D. Davison was.
Whether a brand new team manages to gel for Nate Oats in 2022-2023 remains to be seen, but they aren’t lacking in talent.