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Alabama is Beatable and Here’s the Blueprint to Do It.
By: Larry Burton
Alabama has proven they’re beatable and AJ McCarron has proven that he doesn’t always have his A game loaded in that rifle arm. The defensive secondary can be burned and the special teams have either given up big plays or failed to make their own. But there are other ingredients that must be added to the mix to get that upset.
1. Catch them after an emotional game won in the last seconds or after a blowout wins that has them cocky.
Last season they lost to Texas A&M following a big emotional, late comeback win at LSU. That game could have drained them. AJ McCarron was flat in that LSU and didn’t seem capable of throwing a rock in the ocean until the last drive Alabama had the ball.
In 2011, the Tide lost after finishing off eight opponents in a row by a combined score of 315-55. They were ripe for someone to come in and knock them off their high horse.
2. Rush the ball and gain at 100 yards to keep them on their heels to open up the passing game.
Teams that have a tendency to beat Alabama are teams who can rush the ball a minimum of 100 yards. While that isn’t much to run against most teams, that can be tough against Alabama. But doing that keeps them from focusing on pass defense and staying in nickle defense.
3. Win the battle of turnovers.
Again, this is easier said than done, but play a perfect game and don’t turn it over yourself. Alabama is far too opportunistic when it comes to points after turnovers, but conversely they have been known to give up points after their own turnovers. Teams that have beaten Alabama have won this important point.
4. Hold Alabama to less than 140 yards rushing.
Again, that is very hard to do, but some teams have managed it and they came out a winner. When Alabama can’t force teams to play ball on their terms, they don’t function as well. So far under the management of McCarron, if AJ doesn’t have the running game making defenses respect the play fake, he hasn’t been at his best.
5. Have a mobile quarterback.
Alabama doesn’t necessarily try and rack up a lot of sacks, they like to contain the QB first, then collapse the pocket on him. If you have a mobile quarterback that can make plays with his legs, it’s just something that Alabama is just not accustomed to and doesn’t handle well. Johnny Manziel and Cam Newton all Alabama fans remember burning the Tide. But most have forgotten that in their loss to LSU in 2011, that Jordan Jefferson ran for 43 key yards that helped defeat Alabama. Even Stephen Garcia, South Carolina’s QB, picked up a key 4th down conversion against Alabama that helped win the game in 2010.
6. Have your quarterback bring his A game in passing too.
Teams that defeat Alabama have their quarterbacks complete at least 63 percent of their passes in that game. Again, South Carolina QB Garcia had the game of his life against Alabama completing far above his normal average. Such was the same for the other quarterbacks that defeated Alabama.
7. Now for the hard part.
You have to perhaps manage to pull of at least five of these six in the game to get that elusive win against Alabama. And as if just doing one of the six things named above isn’t hard enough, trying to complete at least five of them is a very tall order indeed.
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter