TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Here’s one final look back at Alabama’s 49-30 win over Arkansas as well as a peek at what the Crimson Tide have coming up in the next two weeks.
Marlon Humphrey wasn’t happy with himself or Alabama’s secondary
Alabama’s defense gave up its second 400-yard passing game (the first came against Ole Miss) on Saturday.
The numbers are skewed to a degree because Arkansas got down early, and had to throw a lot to catch up. Still, Alabama wasn’t happy with the secondary’s performance.
“We got to be better, especially me,” Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. “I left a lot of plays out there. I don’t think anybody besides Minkah really played that good. I think I played worse. A lot of busted coverages. A lot of things to work on. A lot of things to learn from.”
Humphrey said it comes down to playing the ball better and knowing when he has safety help. It’s a positive sign that the secondary was able to immediately identify its mistakes after the game.
Those are things that will need to be cleaned up as better offenses in Tennessee and Texas A&M are on the schedule the next two weeks.
Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick made up for the struggles of the other defensive backs by intercepting three passes, and returning one for a 100-yard touchdown.
Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick named the @WalterCampFF Defensive Player of the Week
Fitzpatrick had 3 interceptions and a pick-6 vs Arkansas
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) October 9, 2016
Poor Austin Allen
Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen deserves a lot of credit for his performance on Saturday. Allen took a ton of hits, but managed to stay in the game.
He threw for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns against Alabama’s secondary. He also threw 3 interceptions to Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, one of which was returned for an interception.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Alabama pressured Allen on 42 of his 61 drop backs. That’s nearly 70 percent of the time. Allen had been pressured 37.8 percent of his dropbacks through the first five games, which was one of the highest rates in the country according to ProFootballFocus.com.
Alabama sacked Allen 6 times. Alabama leads the SEC and is tied for No. 4 in the nation with 23 sacks.
Injuries to watch this week
Linebacker Reuben Foster and right guard Alphonse Taylor suffered concussions vs. Arkansas. Foster was injured in the third quarter and replaced by junior Rashaan Evans. Taylor didn’t play in the second half. Lester Cotton replaced Taylor.
“Reuben got a little concussion. I don’t know how serious it is,” Saban said. “Shank (Taylor) got sort of a minor concussion so we just held him out and played Lester because we were ahead in the game at the time. We didn’t want to push him. Hopefully both of these guys will be able to get better in the future.”
Both will have to go through the concussion protocol this week. It wouldn’t be a shock if both played, but their status is something to monitor as Alabama prepares for Tennessee.
Freshman running back Joshua Jacobs pinched a nerve in his right elbow, but should be fine going forward.
Defensive notes at midway point
- Alabama’s defense scored two touchdowns to push its total to seven on the season. That’s good for No. 1 in the nation.
- Alabama leads the SEC and is tied for No. 4 in the nation with 23 sacks.
- Alabama’s defense is allowing just 69.17 rushing yards per game. The Crimson Tide are holding teams to 2.22 yards per carry. Alabama is No. 1 nationally in both categories. Alabama also is on pace to post the best marks in both categories during Saban’s tenure. Alabama has allowed two rushing touchdowns, which is tied for No. 2 in the nation.
- Alabama’s defense is allowing 15.8 points per game, which ranks inside the top 15 nationally.
Looking ahead to Tennessee and Texas A&M
Alabama opened as an 8-point favorite over Tennessee, according to VegasInsider.com. The line quickly moved to 10.
Alabama owns a nine-game winning streak over Tennessee. All but two of those wins have come by at least 14 points.
Tennessee is coming off a tough overtime loss to Texas A&M so the game won’t be as big as it could have been.
Tennessee racked up 686 yards of offense against Texas A&M, but turned the ball over seven times. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs gave the ball away four times (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles).
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Texas A&M missed 31 tackles vs. Tennessee. Alabama has missed 24 tackles all season.
It’s hard to envision a scenario where Alabama’s defense tackles as poorly as the Aggies did.
Texas A&M has a bye before facing Alabama. The Aggies passing attack is one of the best in the country, and their defense is improved.
The Tennessee game showed that the Aggies’ defense still has a ways to go. If Alabama gets by Tennessee, we’ll get an undefeated showdown between the Crimson Tide and Aggies in Bryant-Denny Stadium. That game likely decides the SEC West.