After playing one of the sloppiest games under head coach Nick Saban’s tenure, squeaking out a 20-19 win over the Texas Longhorns last Saturday, the Crimson Tide will be anxious to get back to Bryant Denny Stadium to let out some frustration on their next opponent. Unfortunately for Louisiana-Monroe, they are that next opponent.
Bama fans will be expecting something similar to the 55-0 beatdown they put on Utah State in the first game of the season. Anything less than that would be a disappointment.
Here are a few things to watch for this Saturday as the Tide plays host to Louisiana-Monroe.
Last week, Alabama had 15 penalties. Yes, you read that correctly — 15 penalties. You cannot win many football games committing that many penalties, and the fact that the Tide pulled off a win at Texas is nothing short of remarkable. This week, discipline and focus should be at the forefront of things to emphasize. If Bama has a repeat performance in the penalty department like last week, they might just find themselves on the wrong end of an upset alert.
So far this season, Alabama’s offensive line has been inconsistent and lacking physicality. As a result, the ground game has suffered and Bryce Young has been running for his life to avoid sacks, causing him to be the Tide’s leading rusher. Hopefully, the Bama offensive line can show some physicality and gain some confidence while playing an undersized team Saturday. This is the perfect game to get the ground game rolling and keep Young’s jersey clean.
It is not quite time to hit the panic button on the pass rush, but it is getting close. After two games, what was thought to be the best pass rush in the nation has only accounted for three sacks with one of those coming from the secondary. With the secondary getting exposed in the vertical passing game last week, the Tide needs a healthy pass rush to help alleviate the pressure off the inexperienced secondary.
Under Saban, the wide receiver room has always been full of NFL talent, but so far this year, nobody has shown signs of being the next DeVonta Smith or Jameson Williams. The season is young, but in the first two games, there has been little separation and too many drops for this young receiving group. Having a running back lead the team in receptions is a nice weapon but not who you want to be your primary pass catcher. The return of speedsters Tyler Harrell and JoJo Earle can’t get here fast enough.
With this game predicted to be a blowout, we should get a good look at the future of the quarterback position for the Tide. At the very least, we should see Jalen Milroe under center. He is a true dual-threat quarterback and a physical specimen. He has the physicality and the speed of a running quarterback, but does he possess the accuracy and decision-making of a passing quarterback? If things go as planned, he should be able to get some quality snaps and experience.
On paper, this game should be over by halftime, but after the performance last week, anything is a possibility. The last thing Bama fans want to happen Saturday is to relive the same outcome as they did when Alabama played Louisiana-Monroe in 2007.
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