Don’t let the scoreboard fool you. Although Alabama football has shut out the last two opponents, there are major areas of concerns ahead when playing championship caliber teams.
Three weeks ago Alabama football entered the bye as the hottest team in the nation. Scoring an average of 50+ points a game with nearly 30+ of those points coming before halftime. 500+ yards of total offense. Tua Tagovailoa hadn’t played in the four quarter or even thrown an interception.
Fast forward to today.
Alabama football is still undefeated and will be listed as the number one team in the land, but there is a lot of concern for the Tide moving forward.
A lot will be made of the injured leg of Tagovailoa. Yes, I believe Tua is the piece that Bama cannot lose and still compete for a National Championship.
However, Tagovailoa’s health is a direct result of his offensive line play. Which against Mississippi State was horrendous, especially after starting Guard Deonte Brown left the game with a turf toe injury.
The Tide could not pick up a blitz protection to protect Tagovailoa for most of the game. I understand that Mississippi State is a very good defensive team. However, Georgia and potential playoff opponents such as Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan etc. are going to be of the same caliber if not better than Mississippi State….. especially offensively.
The first major red flag is although the Tide have won two in a row in shutout fashion, both LSU and Mississippi State are nowhere near championship quality in terms of offensive production.
If Alabama has offensive struggles, as it did against Mississippi State, versus Georgia, or a playoff opponent mentioned above, the Tide would have a high chance of losing the game.
I believe Georgia, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma are more than capable of scoring 30 points in a game and have a key factor in slowing down the Tide which is an aggressive pass rush.
Where LSU failed in terms of slowing down the Tide was getting pressure on Tagovailoa. Mississippi State demonstrated that if you can get consistent pressure on Tagovailoa then the Tide are very beatable. The Crimson Tide must address the failures within pass protection or else it will continue to suffer in terms of offensive production.
The next major red flag during the Mississippi State game was the offensive play calling. Alabama continued to call deep routes for the receivers and it allowed the Bulldog’s pass rush to take advantage.
I expected to see more slants and hot routes but it never developed in order to get the ball out of Tagovailoa’s hands before pressure could be a factor.
When you have a quarterback that doesn’t need to take shots, then you need to call plays that allow him to stay upright. That didn’t happen, especially in the third quarter.
It is clear no matter what Saban and Tagovailoa say, that something is wrong with Tagovailoa’s leg. Alabama football has to focus on building a game plan with Tagovailoa’s leg as a primary concern.
The Crimson Tide must take this week against the Citadel to regroup and find consistency in the offensive line, especially if Deonte Brown is unable to play. They must provide better pass protection for Tagovailoa under center and the offensive play calling must develop to limit the number of hits on Tua.
If the Crimson Tide cannot solve the offensive problems, against stronger competition the Crimson Tide could be handed a loss when it cannot afford to lose.
Comment below if you see the same red flags for Alabama going forward. Also, comment on your opinion of the severity of Tagovailoa’s injury.