Good Morning, My Friends,
A busy weekend and week as well. Early this year I felt well about the Bama Game with the Vol’s talent and depth with experience. Every injury that impacted experienced depth concerned me. Going into Saturday I was not confident. As the game progressed and more starters were injured the talent/ experience/ speed edge for Bama became clear.
My observations on the game. Bama was better on the OL and DL. Their 3 LB’s were big and FAST. They could cover our TE’s and RB’s on passes. Watching the replay when the Vol RB’s left the backfield the Bama LB’s were headed to tackle them as soon as the ball arrived. They were not going to let Hurd and Kamara catch and run in the open field.
On pass defense, the Bama safeties did not have to play in Box for run defense. They were all over our WR’s with single and double press coverage. There were four incomplete passes to Jennings in the first half. I think that on the Vol’s 4th possession on the long throw to Jennings on the sideline that he was interfered with, but no call. That really set us back. Our OL could not handle the Bama pass rush. We gave up sacks on the first three possessions. While Bama did not have another sack in the game after the third sack they were pushing the pocket back and the DE’s were able to contain Dobbs. He was hit repeatedly even on quick throws with a short drop.
On offense Bama is a power run team with speed that uses a spread to open the field for the run. The Bama RB’s are fast. This was a team that you do not catch their skill players from behind in the open field. We saw that. Their QB is explosive and if you do not keep LB’s in the mid field he was gone up the middle. This was a real problem for the Vols because our LB’s and Nickle Back could not shift to the outside when they shifted and showed motion since it would open the field for their QB to run up the middle. That let Bama get to the edge for long runs. They had repeated 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 yard runs up the middle. Our loss of DT’s really hurt the Vol run defense. We did not get penetration on the OL.
Our offense is a lot like Bama’s when it is working. Our running game and passing game forces the other team’s safeties to commit and opens the field for Josh to run. Bama was not going to let that happen and they were successful in that.
We had short runs and short pass completions and put Josh in 3rd and Long almost every series. With their safety help up close their DB’s were all over our receivers. Their DL had both penetration and successful contain on our offense. Size, experience, and speed let you do that. We do not play another team with that mix on defense for a front seven. That is good news.
The game film gives the Vols a lot to work on. The only good news was that we played a lot of young players an awful lot of meaningful snaps against a really good team and we have an off week to heal and learn from this game.
In some ways Football is a lot like Boxing. You plan to win a fight. Throw some package jabs and body shots to set up your best punch. That works and “BOOM” you throw your best shot. The other guy does not blink and you think “Oh S…!!” Than he unloads on you. Bama played their best game of the year and our guys took their best shots repeatedly. They won but the Vols did not quit.
On to the Gamecocks in Columbia. Go Vols!