Alabama takes a 17-14 lead to the half in the 88th Iron Bowl against Auburn in a much more competitive matchup than nationally believed.
Despite only allowing 20 yards through the air after two-quarters of play, there are still a few adjustments that must be made in order to ensure the Crimson Tide comes out on top.
Below are three key adjustments that should be addressed at the half:
Play more physically and disciplined in defending the run
As previously mentioned, Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne has thrown for just 20 yards while completing 2-of-10 passes on the day. But it’s the rushing attack led by Jarquez Hunter and Damari Alston that has given the Alabama front fits all day.
The Auburn offense has combined for 181 yards and two touchdowns on the ground already thanks to the efforts from the backfield and the offensive line dominating the Crimson Tide’s defensive front.
Nick Saban mentioned to the CBS broadcast after the first quarter that Alabama’s linebackers must remain more disciplined with its run fills which is exactly what should be reinforced again at the break.
Eliminate mental mistakes on offense
At the beginning of the season, Alabama got into a habit of erasing its own scores due to penalties, and after weeks of keeping that under control, it seems to have come back in a big way today.
The Crimson Tide have already eliminated two touchdowns of its own thanks to a holding penalty and an illegal throw by Jalen Milroe. Instead of translating to 14 points, Alabama has only been able to muster three thanks to those two crucial plays.
Outside of those plays the Alabama offense has been able to do what it pleases throughout the day, so shrinking the mental mistakes could prove to pay dividends.
Don’t be afraid to take what the defense gives you through the air
Quarterback Jalen Milroe has been able to make a few plays on the run so far on the day, but there’ve also been a handful of times where checking down or trusting a progression could have aided in moving the sticks.
The Alabama offense has been known for its big-play ability all season and proved it with Jermaine Burton’s 43-yard touchdown just before the half.
Those sorts of plays certainly won’t be missed by Milroe, but taking the six-yard dump-off route to extend the drive is also something the Crimson Tide will need.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77