It’s a big week in college football. The traditional, “Third Saturday in October.”
This is so much more than just a game. This is Alabama versus Tennessee. Remember Terrence Cody and the legendary blocked field goal?
It’s General Neyland and Paul “Bear” Bryant. It’s Joe Namath, Payton Manning, fall Saturdays; it is the epitome of why we love college football. Tradition and history all in one.
This matchup between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers will prove to be a special one. Tennessee is a program on the rise. On initial glance, you would see a 3-3 Volunteer club who is 4th in the SEC East. Naturally, it would lead you to think they would be an easy win on a beautiful fall Saturday in October.
Hailing only a week from Halloween, the Volunteers bring a hauntingly scary trap into Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday. Why?
For starters, statistically, they outscored and outplayed Florida in their loss to the Gators. Additionally, the Volunteers played Oklahoma head-to-head and nearly pulled out the big win.
Which brings me to my final question: How can Alabama defeat the Volunteers this Saturday? Below, here are five reasons the Tide will be victorious and puffing on cigars by the evening.
1. Vintage Alabama Defense
Do I really need to say more here? The Crimson Tide shut down the Texas A&M running game this past Saturday. The Tide was dominant. Completely. A repeat performance by the Crimson Tide defense, headlined by senior Reggie Ragland this Saturday, and the Volunteers will leave Bryant-Denny seriously disappointed.
2. A More Consistent Jake Coker
A scramble here or there, which, Jake Coker has become very good at — eliminate the turnovers — and be smart. Coker has become more consistent and has taken a strong leadership role of the Alabama offense by doing just that. For the Crimson Tide to have a solid chance against the Volunteers this Saturday, Coker will need to be more consistent and have a solid day.
3. Vitamin “D” Squared-More Derrick and Drake
Again, should I have to explain this? Give the defensive front of the Volunteers a heavy dose of Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry. Repeat as necessary.
4. Contain Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd
Tennessee is coming off a bye week. Alabama is coming off of a heavyweight matchup against a top 10 Texas A&M team. Dobbs, the starting quarterback for the Volunteers, had great statistics even in the losses against Florida and Oklahoma. Contain him and Jalen Hurd, and they will have a difficult shot at winning. Just a caution: Tennessee coming off of a bye week, they will be fresh and ready to deliver a loss to Alabama. Alabama must come in focused and ready to take care of business here.
5. Win the Time of Possession Battle
This affects the whole game of momentum. Take the air out of their sails early. Shut them down often. Keep their running game limited and their short, screen passes eliminated.
For the doubters, keep in mind the Crimson Tide’s secondary has improved. The Alabama offense has found its rhythm and the defense, well, they dominate. After a tough matchup against the Aggies in College Station, Texas last weekend, this could be a trap game for the Crimson Tide.
Having them prepared for the Volunteers is up to the coaches.
Adam Davis is a Columnist for Touchdown Alabama. You can follow him on Twitter, @adamdaviswriter or “Like” him on Facebook. You can see more of his work and find out more about him on his website at www.adamdavis.co.