Alabama Defeated Texas, but Inconsistencies Reared Their Ugly Heads
AUSTIN, Texas — It appears that Alabama football may be having a problem with consistency.
Hinted at by head coach Nick Saban after the Crimson Tide’s 55-0 victory over Utah State last weekend, Alabama’s inconsistency transcends more than just the running back room. After the team’s nail-biting 20-19 win over Texas on Saturday, multiple issues on the Crimson Tide’s offense reared their ugly heads.
For starters, Alabama’s receivers combined for just 14 receptions on the afternoon and a total of 137 yards. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs caught all nine of his targets for 74 yards and was the team’s leading receiver. Jase McClellan also received one pass for two yards.
Compare that to Week 1 against the Aggies, where Alabama wide receivers — minus running backs — caught 22 passes for 224 yards. The Crimson Tide also had only one receiving touchdown on Saturday against Texas, compared to six against Utah State.
Running football was just as inconsistent in Alabama’s first two games. While Bryce Young was able to rush for 100 yards against Utah State, the five running backs 25 carries for 168 yards — an average of 6. 72 yards per carry — with the bulk of those numbers coming from a 58-yard run by Gibbs. The numbers at Texas didn’t improve much. Against the Longhorns, the Crimson Tide stable combined for just 123 yards and one touchdown off 17 carries. This is an average of 7. 23 yards a carry, an 81-yard rush by McClellan really skews those numbers in a much more positive direction than they should. Saban outlined all the problems that led to the team’s inconsistencies in offense after the game.
“We didn’t block ’em well up front, didn’t protect very well and got pressure in our pocket. We also didn’t get people open. It was probably because of the way they played us that we needed to plan better,” Saban stated. Execution is the key. You have to focus on what’s right in front of your face when you play in games like these. You can’t think about the rest of the world, such as what people say on ESPN, what the media all say, or how much you’re favored. All you need to do is focus on what’s right in front you. “
Blocking has been a key component in Alabama’s inconsistencies. Texas was able sack Young seven times and record six tackles for losses. Poor blocking is the reason for these stats.
Alabama ended Saturday’s game with solid performances in the trenches. The Crimson Tide’s offensive line struggles were evident in the second and third quarters.
After listing the things Alabama players shouldn’t be focusing on, Saban went on to explain what his team should instead.
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“If you’re an offensive lineman, that’s the guy you gotta block,” Saban said. “If you are a receiver, this is the guy you have to beat. You must take the defense’s advice if you are a quarterback. If you’re running, you have to press the hole and make the right moves. We didn’t do it the right way. It wasn’t just one thing. You have to be able focus on that and you won’t lose sight of the 8-ball. There are so many second-and longs and third-andlongs that you can’t help but feel like you’re losing. We need to do better on those downs so that we don’t get in those situations. Alabama seemed to have a solid focus in the offseason. Although the defense has been strong, despite not being in the backfield as much as fans and media members expected, the offense has not lived up the Crimson Tide faithful’s expectations.
It’s a long season and it’s hard to judge a team by just two games. It’s likely that Alabama will not be able to turn the tide.
It is also unfair to compare Texas and Utah State. The Longhorns have seen a dramatic improvement under Steve Sarkisian, a former Saban assistant coaching coach. Who knows how Saturday’s game could have turned out if Quinn Ewers, quarterback, hadn’t been hurt in the first quarter. Saban stated that
“Texas is a much better team than many people give them credit for.” “And they’re going be in SEC, and if the SEC was right now they’d likely be in top half of league, so this was a real challenge for us. “
Next week, Alabama returns to home to face Louisiana-Monroe — a team that Texas defeated in Week 1 by a score of 52-10 — before hosting Vanderbilt. The Crimson Tide should use these two games as a way to reset.
If those games don’t go according to plan, Alabama’s long road will continue.
All in all, Saban said that he believes every inconsistency and shortcoming his team has shown so far can be fixed with hard work in practice.
” There are many things we can learn as a team from the Texas game,” Saban stated afterward. “I told the team that if you practice hard, it is easy to win. You can’t push yourself in practice. Practice is the hardest part of the game. “
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