Constant defensive pressure leads to Crimson’s win on A-Day


Dmitriy Shmagin

The Crimson defense suffocated the White offense.

Cody Estremera

Coming into its annual A-Day game, Alabama’s defense had a lot to prove. It lost eight starters off its 2017 national championship winning team, and with injuries and some freshman not being on campus yet, depth was a problem.

“We don’t have quality depth at a lot of positions of defense,” coach Nick Saban said. “I think that’s going to be a real key to develop that and improve some of the players we have.”

Even with those glaring problems, the Crimson defense [the Alabama first team defense] was dominate. 

It constantly got to quarterback Jalen Hurts throughout the game, finishing with seven sacks. Christian Miller, Raekwon Davis and Quinnen Williams each finished with two sacks a piece.

Davis said that two sacks a piece wasn’t good enough for him and Williams.

“We should have both had 10 a piece,” Davis said.

In their first start together, Dylan Moses and Mack Wilson didn’t miss a beat from last year’s duo of Rashaan Evans and Shaun Dion Hamilton. Moses finished with a game-high 10 tackles, while Wilson had seven. Wilson also had two pass breakups, both of which were almost interceptions. 

After losing all five of its starters, the secondary was a huge question mark, especially since Trevon Diggs and Deionte Thompson were the only two players with starting experience. The Crimson secondary blanketed the White’s receivers all game. 

It allowed just 195 passing yards on 37 attempts. Receivers finished with just 125 yards, with the largest play from scrimmage went for 59 yards to DeVonta Smith. 

Diggs’s A-Day was very different than last year. Last year, he was burned three times for three very long touchdowns. Saturday, he finished with nine tackles and an interception. He returned the interception 27 yards, effectively ending the game. 

The White defense [second team defense] wasn’t as disruptive. Its pressure only got to quarterback Mac Jones twice in the first half.

Jones picked the White defense apart, especially in that first half. Jones was for 179 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He finished 23-of-35 with two touchdowns and an interception. 

“The first defense is probably a lot better than the second team defense,” Saban said. “We have a little less depth on defense based on all the players we lost. I think the second offense was a little better than the second defense. They were better all the way around.”

The second half was when the Crimson defense settled down. It brought pressure, sacking Jones four times. 

Even though the secondary struggled to hold off the passing game for most of the game, the Crimson running game never got going. It was held to just 32 yards on 24 attempts, for a 1.3 average.