Alabama football fans in ecstasy over the Crimson Tide offense are agonizing over a Tide defense hampered by inconsistency and suddenly thinner.
Many good things happened as the Alabama football offense overpowered Arkansas. Tua was again spectacular. The running game put up some big numbers. Arkansas defensive coordinator, John Chavis said the Tide offense might be the best he has ever coached against.
Chavis has been coaching nonstop against SEC offenses since 1989. Starting in 1995 as Tennessee’s DC, he battled the Gators every season through the Fun’n’Gun, Spurrier years. He matched wits with offenses led by Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel. When he says the 2018 Alabama football offense might be the best he has ever faced – it means something.
Alabama football fans can swell with pride from Chavis’ statement and the widespread national acclaim for the Tide’s explosive offense. But is it enough to win another championship? Will there not come a game when a staunch defense will be needed?
So far in 2018, the Alabama football defense has performed well enough. It has shown talent and quick development in the secondary. What it has not been, is consistent. Surrendering 405 yards to one of the SEC’s worst teams triggers alarms.
Even worse, is the injury news about Trevon Diggs, who is out indefinitely with a broken foot. An already thin Tide secondary is suddenly down three players: Diggs; plus Daniel Wright and Jalyn Armour-Davis to apparently season-ending injuries.
Next man up is the correct philosophy but the next man is usually neither as good or as experienced. If he were, he would not be the next man. Let’s recall the situation for the 2018 defense when the season began.
More than ten regulars from last season’s defense moved on to the NFL. Eight of the 2017 starters were drafted. The attrition was staggering long before the injuries to Terrell Lewis and Chris Allen. Expecting the 2018 defense to reach Saban’s defensive standards was and is unrealistic.
In addition, the rebuilt defense is learning and developing as its defensive coordinator, Tosh Lupoi does the same. Missed assignments and defensive breakdowns are the results. The question now, particularly with the loss of Trevon Diggs, is how much can the 2018 defense improve? And also how soon can Alabama football fans expect to see a marked improvement?
We suspect even Nick Saban does not know the answers. The good news is, if John Chavis is correct, the Alabama football offense may be able to outscore every team anyway.
Saivion Smith will step in for Trevon Diggs at cornerback. The new two-deep in the dime formation is now made up of unproven players.