Due to the constraints of the moving houses, I don’t have my usual setup for getting video clips. So our stock up/down column this week is going to focus less on individual plays and more on the overall performances of some individual players. For what it’s worth, I’m going to ignore the whole QB thing, since everyone and their mothers are already talking about that.
I think some definite props have to go to J.C. Latham in this game. I particularly loved a play on 3rd and 4 early in the 4th quarter where he dropped back into a pass set and just displayed outstanding quickness backwards. The play wound up failing, but his block was really impressive. He also had to account for Jalen Milroe constantly bailing out of the pocket backwards and to the right, and did so quite well all game.
Jase McClellan. Man, the fumble sucked, but those things happen sometimes when you refuse to go down. The bigger issue was how little running room he was able to find all night. While Jahmyr Gibbs and even Roydell Williams got big gashing gains, McClellan only broke free one time. 3.2 yards per carry on 10 carries isn’t great.
Cam Latu held onto a touchdown catch between defenders!
I struggled with this one, as I truly think Seth McLaughlin is the better center and the offensive line is much better with him in the game. However, I think last night displayed why he’s consistently been behind Darrian Dalcourt the last two seasons: his snapping accuracy just isn’t great. It’s not the first time we’ve noted that, either.
Again, here’s a mixed bag... But Terrion Arnold really made some great plays. His pass breakup on an RPO slant in the first quarter was an amazing display of athleticism, and he got his first interception of his career. He did miss another on the jump ball on the final drive and got called for a facemask, but overall he made a number of great tackles and displayed some nice coverage skills.
Look, I know he was dealt a tough hand, having to go with a backup QB that clearly isn’t ready to be an SEC starter. But this tweet I found really summed up what I was feeling:
milroe has clear weaknesses. but he's got some pretty clear strengths too! felt like the gameplan went from exposing his weaknesses to being terrified of them and never thought about what he did well.— Sean Landry (@LandrySean) October 9, 2022
It felt like O’Brien started the game like it was an NFL game in 2011, and then once Milroe couldn’t make that work, he fell into being ultra conservative. And even then, when the run game was actually starting to click, he called a pure dropback on 3rd and 2 that wound up as a sack and knocked Alabama into a much longer field goal attempt.
The wide receivers didn’t do much, but I’m not totally sure how much of that was on them. Pretty much the only time all game he tried to get a WR in space with a motion swing pass, he called it to Traeshon Holden, who might be the least qualified pass catcher to make a man miss in the back field. Why not use Jojo Earle or any of the speedy freshmen?
I feel like there were so many small, safe plays he could have called to make Milroe’s job simpler, and he just didn’t.
Chris Braswell! And the rest of the pass rush, really. We saw a lot of the Braswell, Anderson, Turner pass rush package tonight, and boy did they do some damage. Haynes King avoided getting sacked by throwing the ball away while retreating a zillion times (never called for intentional grounding, of course), but the Tide’s pass rush definitely won this game.