If you read the headline, you’re probably wondering if I watched the game on Saturday. I did in fact, and just like you I am disappointed.
In the defense.
Let’s not act like our offense didn’t just score over 60 points on Ole Miss for the third time in the last four years. But yes, we did give up 48 points, 647 yards, and missed tackle after tackle all night. People are calling for the firing of defensive coordinator Pete Golding, and I’m not necessarily against that decision, but we must remember two important things. First, Lane Kiffin is one of the all-time best offensive minds in the sport. He turned a running back in Blake Sims to a record-setting quarterback at the Capstone in 2014. He also knew some of the sets we run defensively from his time here and how to attack them. Second, last time I checked, Pete Golding is not on the field. He is responsible for play calling and making sure the right players are on the field each play. He is not responsible for missed tackles and blown coverages. Half of the time our players weren’t even set when the ball was snapped, granted the Rebels were moving very quickly. But what matters is that the Crimson Tide did win the game, and with that, we head into Georgia week.
This piece initially was not going to include an Ole Miss recap, but after what happened Saturday, I felt it was necessary to address. The truth is, even after that wild game in Oxford, Alabama is still the best team in the Southeastern Conference. In three weeks, this Alabama offense looks more dynamic than ever. So far, Mac Jones looks more dominant and efficient than Tua Tagovailoa ever did. Completing almost 80% of his passes for over 360 yards a game, Jones looks even better than I thought he would be. And let’s not forget my last column.
Najee Harris is beginning to look like the backfield star we all thought he would be, running over and jumping over Rebel defenders en route to over 200 yards and five touchdowns. Yes five, tying Shaun Alexander and Santonio Beard for the most touchdowns in a single game in Alabama football history.
The Ole Miss game should not lead anyone to think that this Alabama team can’t lift the trophy at the season’s end. With the offense being the unstoppable machine that it is, this team can compete with anyone if we can play just a little bit of defense. The defensive performance against the Rebels was a fluke. As the season goes on, we will see more of the defense we saw against Missouri and Texas A&M. Starting this week, Moses and the entire unit will play angry, feeling disrespected after the embarrassing performance Saturday. And if that is the case, the Crimson Tide will run away with the SEC and play for a championship in January.
That all begins when we face the Georgia Bulldogs in Bryant-Denny this Saturday night. For the people concerned, this game will look very different than our matchup with Ole Miss. Although Georgia is more talented, their offensive scheme is much easier to defend. We should expect the Bulldogs to come out and give the ball off to Zamir White and James Cook. If we can stop the run enough and keep an eye on George Pickens, the game will be in our offense’s hands and that will favor us. Georgia can’t win the big game, and that won’t change Saturday.