A head coach learns more about a team in the first two weeks of a season, than any other time period. For Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban, this year’s team has a lot of work to do.
Coach Saban addressed the media in his post-game press conference Saturday, after Alabama’s 37-10 victory over Middle Tennessee State. He said there are many things that can be improved.
“Offensively, we moved the ball at times, but it was inconsistent,” Saban said. “Especially in the passing game where we threw a couple of interceptions and didn’t finish drives like we needed to. Never really seemed like we were every in sync. We made some explosive plays, but there has to be more consistency and execution on offense.”
A comment like this can only state one question, who progressed and who regressed offensively in week two. Yours truly of TDAM with a breakdown listed below.
Alabama players that progressed
- RB Derrick Henry
- RB Kenyan Drake
- WR Robert Foster
- WR Calvin Ridley
- TE O.J. Howard
- RB Damien Harris
Summary: Alabama’s junior running back Derrick Henry has made a statement in the first two weeks. He wants a shot at the Heisman Trophy and he’s going full steam for it. Henry has totaled six rushing touchdowns in two games. He recorded 96 rushing yards on 18 carries with three scores this week.
Senior Kenyan Drake can do it all as a running back, receiver and return specialist. He had 153 all-purpose yards and a touchdown against Wisconsin, and logged 202 all-purpose yards with a score against Middle Tennessee State. Drake’s score came on a 14-yard reception.
Sophomore wide receiver Robert Foster maintained his status from week one to week two. Foster caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown against Middle Tennessee State. He accounted for Alabama’s first points of the game with a 19-yard touchdown reception.
True freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley put in three catches for 22 yards against Wisconsin. He returned this week against Middle Tennessee State, collecting four passes for 37 yards.
Junior tight end O.J. Howard caught 17 passes all of last season. He has seven receptions in two games this year. Howard had 68 receiving yards on four catches against the Blue Raiders.
Even true freshman running back Damien Harris had a much better outcome this week. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry, and totaled 55 rushing yards on eight attempts. Harris averaged 2.6 yards tote, and logged 23 rushing yards on nine carries against Wisconsin last week.
Alabama players that regressed
- QB Jacob Coker
- QB Cooper Bateman
- RT Dominick Jackson
- LT Cameron Robinson
- WR ArDarius Stewart
Summary: Senior quarterback Jacob Coker was sharp against Wisconsin, completing 71.4 percent of his passes (15 of 21) for 219 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers.
He had a lot of ill-advised throws against Middle Tennessee State and tossed an interception in the second quarter. Coker held onto the football too long and forced throws in tight coverage. He completed 15 of 26 passes for 214 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
He held his own against Coker last week, but redshirt sophomore Cooper Bateman took a step back Saturday. Bateman, like Coker, made numerous throws and decisions that were questionable. His fourth quarter interception was a product of poor judgment.
Right tackle Dominick Jackson and left tackle Cameron Robinson both looked sluggish this week. Jackson dominated Wisconsin’s defensive front, but looked lost against the Blue Raiders. Robinson made some plays, but Middle Tennessee State still got pressure through his side.
Sophomore wide receiver ArDarius Stewart only had 21 receiving yards, despite six catches. Whether it’s bad play calling or Stewart not creating separation, he didn’t have a good game.