Southern Mississippi carries an ‘SEC defense,’ according to Nick Saban

Nick Saban walking the Alabama sideline versus Florida
Photo by Kent Gidley of Alabama Athletics/ SEC Media Portal

Alabama took lessons from its home opener against Mercer.

The Bears played with discipline, and its offense scored 14 points. Defensively, Mercer had Alabama’s offense struggling until a blocked punt for a touchdown on special teams got it going. Coach Nick Saban returns to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday to face Southern Mississippi. He wants the fans to bring the “Alabama standard” with their support; however, he also does not want players looking ahead to Ole Miss. During Thursday’s airing of “Hey Coach,” Saban spoke about the defense of the Golden Eagles.

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Southern Mississippi has allowed 17.3 points per contest. It has been exceptional against the run, holding teams to an average of 46 yards per game — which is third in college football. In total defense, the Eagles have allowed 250.7 yards per game — which is 12th in the sport. The program has sack specialists, run stoppers, and defensive backs who can create turnovers.

“I would equate their defense to an SEC-type defense in terms of the way they’ve played so far this year,” Saban said of Southern Mississippi.

Will Hall, head coach of Southern Miss, is building the program like Saban did at Alabama.

Bill O’Brien has to maintain a balanced attack while being able to open Alabama’s offensive playbook up. Saban is ‘hopeful’ the Crimson Tide will get field time for Trey Sanders and Roydell Williams. An opportunity to create an identity is available for Alabama before next week. Saturday’s matchup presents the Tide with a chance to play a complete game before facing Ole Miss.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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