Alabama’s leaders still not satisfied with defensive performance
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Those who had hoped Alabama would be turning in a 60-minute defensive stranglehold against Missouri last Saturday may have gotten tucked in a bit begrudgingly that night.
Despite a 38-19 conference win on the road, the Crimson Tide’s consistency on defense could not be held for the entire game. Yes, a few starters were pulled on that side of the football early in the second half, but in order to be considered a top defense, it will need to take more than just a few players to make an impact.
Senior linebacker Dylan Moses was one of those players who was relieved of their duties at the start of the third quarter and although he has a lot of belief in this unit he’s still looking for more out of his side of the football.
“I feel like we have a really special defense,” said Moses following the game. “I wasn’t impressed with the way we played tonight. We played very well our first half, but in the second half, I just feel like we need to finish. It’s our first game, so we just need to improve.”
Alabama came out of the gates strong Saturday as it held the Tigers offense to 113 total yards in the first half. But things changed for Pete Golding’s defense in the next two quarters as it proceeded to give up 209 yards but the most noticeable difference came on third down.
The Tigers were 3/8 on third down converting 38% of the time in the first but in the second it improved to 5/8 on third down converting 63% of its tries.
“We made a lot of mistakes on defense. They do a lot of formations,” said head coach Nick Saban. “There were a lot of adjustments to be made. We had some young players out there. But I was really encouraged by the way we played defensively in the first half, not the way we need in the second half. And the biggest issue was third down.
“When you play teams like this and they can convert on third down — they extend drives, they’re going fast, they’re fast balling you — the most important thing is to get off the field on third and we did that not very well in the second half and that extended drives for them. And that’s what was a problem for us on defense.”
Although Alabama’s defense still has some ways to go it’s an encouraging sign that team leaders like Moses and Saban will keep pushing for improvement week in and week out as the team continues its conference only season.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77