Kneauxing the Enemy Eight
by Bryan Follins
Alabama visits Tiger Stadium Saturday as the top ranked team in the country. One thing very noticeable about the 2020 Crimson Tide is their absence from the top rung of college football’s total defensive categories. In past years team defense was a staple for the Tide. In 2020, Alabama is not in the top 30 in rushing defense in the country. They are 27th in the nation in scoring defense, and 47th in the land in total defense. Yet, they are still winning.
No Tua No Problem
The Tua Tagiovailoa era is over at Alabama. However, junior quarterback Mac Jones is doing a very good job. Jones is averaging 366 passing yards per game, third in the country. He is averaging 12.4 yards per completion, second in the nation. He has thrown for 2196 total yards, eighth in the land.
Two of his favorite targets are sophomore John Metchie, who averages 21.5 yards per catch. The best receiver on the team is senior DeVonta Smith, who is second in the conference in receiving yards with 1074, and leading the SEC with 12 touchdown receptions.
Senior running back Najee Harris is the second leading rusher in the league with 893 yards. He averages six yards per rush. He is also a dangerous receiver, averaging 10 yards per reception. Harris has scored 17 touchdowns for the season, second in the country.
Sophomore Keilan Robinson has rushed for 254 yards this year, and senior Brian Robinson has run for 269 yards this campaign.
All three Bama backs run for an average of at least five yards per carry.
The offensive line is strong as usual, with the left side of the line anchored by senior left tackle Alex Leatherwood, and senior right guard Deonte Brown.
On defense, sophomore linebacker Christian Harris leads the Tide in tackles with 57, 42 unassisted. Fellow linebacker, and senior Dylan Moses has 56 tackles, 31 solos. Both players, Louisiana natives, have combined for 10 tackles for losses (tfls).
Junior Allen Christopher, another Louisiana native, has nine tfls for the season.
Junior defensive back Patrick Surtain is the leader in Alabama secondary.
It is interesting to note when Alabama played a strong offensive team this season in Ole Miss, their defense was torn apart. Ole Miss, which uses the run-pass-option (RPO) offense, piled up 647 yards of total offense against the Tide, 379 yards through the air. Alabama won 63-48, but would have been blasted if Ole Miss knew how to tackle. The Tide defense is suspect against a good offense.
There is still no secret to beating Alabama. A good passing attack and an up-tempo offense still gives the Tide trouble.
*Note: Subject matter in this article is subject to change due to Covid-19.