Focusing on the Performance of the Players
Alabama vs Arkansas
1. Offensive Line-First off after all of the bad press that the O-line took against Western Kentucky giving up six sacks last week, way to start off SEC play by going into Arkansas and not allowing the dirt to even sniff A.J. McCarron’s jersey. McCarron was not sacked at all in the game. Even with the wet field conditions, the offensive line was still able to create huge holes for the running backs in over 200 yards rushing combined performance by the backs. Whatever the press had to say must have really gotten through to the offensive line, because they made a statement today. An A+ for the O-Line in a bounce back performance.
2. Defense-For the second consecutive week, Def. Coordinator Kirby Smart and the Crimson Tide showed the world why they are the nation’s most feared defense. In this game, I saw a defense that knew since Tyler Wilson is not going to be under center for the Razorbacks, there is no reason why we should not go after back ups Brandon Allen and Brandon Mithcell. Alabama’s defense did just that, they sacked the quarterbacks four times and forced three turnovers. To add more insult to injury , they held Arkansas to just 85 yards rushing and shut them out on the scoreboard. A superb job by a dominating defense earns them an A+ on the grading scale.
3. Ground Game-Like the offensive line, the rushing attack resurrected for the Tide from last week to this week. The running backs in this game rushed for over 200 yards and five touchdowns, three of them were to the account of Eddie Lacy, who started to look like his old self today. An excellent job by the running backs in showing patience, allowing the holes to open up in their bounce back game. An A for the collective effort by the backs.
4. A. J. McCarron- Is there any other quarterback that has won tow National Titles (2009-back up for Greg McElroy), and is still looked at as underrated than A.J. McCarron. He continues to grow and mature as a quarterback in Saban’s system, and in this game against Arkansas I saw nothing different. He made accurate throws, read the coverage well, placed the football in the right spots, and he just looked comfortable today. His numbers were pretty good, he went 11-16 passing for 188 yards and a touchdown. Also note this for the third week in a row, McCarron has not thrown an interception. Talk about efficiency. An excellent game and an A+ for the field general.
5. Penalties-This is the one knock that I had against Tide today. For a team that is well coached, there is absolutely no excuse for these penalties. Alabama had seven penalties for for 72 yards, this has to
improve for the Tide. Outside of this, Alabama simply dominated Arkansas in the battle of the Brandons’.
Alabama vs Western Kentucky
1. A.J. McCarron- Talk about efficiency and putting the ball in the right spot, McCarron did that exceptionally well against the Western Kentucky secondary. He improved greatly from Game 1 (Michigan) to Game 2 in the art of leading the receivers down the field with pinpoint passes. McCarron, for second game this season, looked locked into the game and in control of the offense. Outside of the defense forcing 4 turnovers, he single-handedly willed the Tide to a victory. His numbers in the game were he went 14-19 (74% passes completed) passing for 219 yards and 4 touchdowns. Excellent aerial performance and an A+ for McCarron.
2. Offensive Line- As I watched this game, I saw A.J. McCarron on the ground almost as much as I saw him up. This is not a good sign for the Alabama offensive line, because of the fact that they were ranked as the #1 offensive line in the nation last season. In the six sacks taken by McCarron, three of them were caused by offensive lineman just getting beat off the ball. If the Tide wants to defeat Arkansas, they will have to improve on protecting McCarron. Despite the fact that McCarron was sacked six times, the offensive line did protect him well enough for him throw four touchdowns. A B+ for the offensive line.
3. Defense- Defensively the Tide did well against the Hilltoppers, but there were a few things that must improve in order for the defense to get better. Miss tackles were a factor in this game, and Western Kentucky quarterback Kawaun Jakes was only sacked three times. Western Kentucky also went on a stretch, in which they converted five third downs in a row. The Bama defense cannot have this happen if they want to have the best defense in the SEC. Alabama’s defense did an outstanding job forcing (4) turnovers and shutting out Western Kentucky on the scoreboard. An A for the Bama defense.
4. Third-Down Conversions- As we all know when a team converts on third down, they keep their offense on the field and their defense refreshed off the field. Alabama struggled on third down, converting less than fifty percent (40 percent). In order for Alabama to improve, gain momentum, and put points on the board, they must convert on third down.
In the all and all, the Tide played well in the 35-0 win against the Hilltoppers on Saturday, but there were a few things that Coach Saban believed they could have executed better on.
Alabama vs Michigan
1. AJ McCarron- McCarron played within himself tonight, he read the Wolverine’s coverage well and got the ball out on time. He was confident in the pocket and he looked like he was in control of the game from the first snap. McCarron did an outstanding job checking down to his second and third option when the first option was not there. T
he one thing that impress me though about McCarron was he was not afraid to take shots down the field. His numbers on the night were he went 11-21 passing for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. Way to lead the Tide AJ an A+ for you.
2. T.J. Yeldon- If you have never seen a more explosive running back in his first game as a true freshman when the lights are on in a big game, I present to you T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon did an incredible job reading the holes and using his vision to make cuts and shift up and down the field. Not only did he run well, he also caught a 19-yard screen pass (from McCarron) which kept a Bama drive alive. Yeldon becomes the first freshman running back to rush for over 100 yards in his first game. Excellent job to show up when the lights are on by Yeldon. A+ for the running game.
3. Bama’s Defense- What I saw in Bama’s defense tonight was a defense that is strong up front, but there are some holes in the secondary. The Tide did a great job of slowing down Denard Robinson and only allowing him 37 yards rushing (Michigan as a team 69-yards rushing). Alabama forced 2 Denard Robinson interceptions, one was returned for a touchdown by C.J. Moseley. Due to the fact that Bama’s secondary is young, they were exposed a bit on the two of the passes that Robinson threw, but outside of that the Tide did a great job defensively. An A for the defense.