Excellent Stats on 2018 Defensive Weaknesses

4Q Basket Case

FB|BB Moderator
Nov 8, 2004
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This article is from BamaHammer. Gives an excellent breakdown on what cost us in the last few games.

https://bamahammer.com/2019/07/07/alabama-football-defense-needs-improve/

It's true that scoring so fast did some damage to the D by putting it on the field longer. But there was also, by Nick Saban standards, some under-performance on the D.

Most particularly, passing efficiency, 3rd and 4th down efficiency (all absolutely blown up by Oklahoma and Clemson), and sacks / tackles for loss. The latter of which speak to the lack of play-making production by DL and LBs not named Quinnen Williams. Against lesser competition, the lack of playmaking from the other 6 of the front 7 didn't matter all that much. Against the teams that matter, in the games that matter, it told an entirely different story.

There are two aspects to this. The obvious is the need for an improved combination of DB play and pass rush. Hard to dis-entangle the two, as they are highly interrelated. But ball control / time of possession / keeping the opponent's O on the bench, is important, too.

I'm not advocating a return to a Stallings-era offense. I'm advocating checkdowns and being happy with a 6-yard release to Najee on 3rd and 4, and an OL that can open a crease against a top-flight defense on 3rd or 4th and short, in crunch time when the opponent's DL is primed. Convert the first down, fight on for at least three more downs, all the while denying an explosive offense (and all of them in the playoffs are explosive) the chance to explode.

Admittedly, it's a balancing act. And don't think we did a good job executing that in the last third of last year. Take advantage of the generational talent we have at WR, combined with a QB who throws the best deep ball I've ever seen...which we did. Just don't make yourself a one-trick pony...which we also did. It doesn't take an elite defense; one that's just good will make you pay every time.

Really and truly, it caught up with us against UGA. We were bailed out by a monumental coaching blunder on the late fake punt (run the fake when we're lined up, not only in punt safe, but in our regular defense? Really? I can forgive the players...but no coach thought to call time out? Kirby deserved what happened.). It almost caught up with us against Oklahoma, and the wheels finally came off in Santa Clara.
 
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bamamc1

All-American
Oct 24, 2011
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Haleyville, AL
The problem with the D was the lack of experience at D coordinator. I’ll also interject an opinion: I think CNS was obviously dealing with a serious issue with his hip. I know people who’d Had that procedure and the general consensus is they didn’t realize how much pain they were in until getting the surgery and the relief after the fact. I think we’ll get full affect CNS this fall.
 

bamacpa

All-American
Jul 19, 2006
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Diggs returning and the emergence of Jobe should help the play of the secondary. The development of an effective pass rush is the key to our season, along with the health of our QB. Anoma, Lewis, or someone needs to step up into beast mode if we’re gonna win it all.


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4Q Basket Case

FB|BB Moderator
Nov 8, 2004
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Diggs returning and the emergence of Jobe should help the play of the secondary. The development of an effective pass rush is the key to our season, along with the health of our QB. Anoma, Lewis, or someone needs to step up into beast mode if we’re gonna win it all.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
The DB performance and DL / OLB performance are mutually dependent, and it's hard to talk about either in a vacuum.

DL and OLB generating a pass rush means DBs don't have to cover as long, resulting in more incompletions even if there's no sack. DBs being able to stay with a receiver just a second or two longer gives the front 7 more time to get pressure on the passer. They're mutually reinforcing. Trouble is, if either isn't performing up to snuff, they're also mutually limiting...as was the case last year. By recent Alabama standards at least.

Keep in mind, we're not talking about absolute performance. Versus the other 133 FBS schools, we were pretty good. We're talking about (1) performance necessary to win games that matter against teams that matter, and (2) performance versus the incredibly high standards set in recent years. We fell short on those last two measures, and it showed in the post-season games that mattered.
 

bamacpa

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Jul 19, 2006
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I continue to wonder, based on his play against Clemson and in the spring game, if Jobe wasn't a better option in the postseason than Smith. I know Coach sees them and I don't, but I also think history tells us that Coach can be too slow in subbing in the younger guy. We've seen that at many positions. Jobe looked to me to battle and compete against Clemson, while Smith had been a weak link for several games.
 

gtgilbert

All-SEC
Aug 12, 2011
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I continue to wonder, based on his play against Clemson and in the spring game, if Jobe wasn't a better option in the postseason than Smith. I know Coach sees them and I don't, but I also think history tells us that Coach can be too slow in subbing in the younger guy. We've seen that at many positions. Jobe looked to me to battle and compete against Clemson, while Smith had been a weak link for several games.
From a pure physical talent standpoint - Jobe > Smith, no question. That said, Ross made him look just as bad as he made Smith look, and Jobe had a couple of mental / scheme issues during the game, which isn't unexpected from a true freshman DB in their first major outing. maybe if he had more game reps during the year he would have been more confident, or maybe he was still in the process of learning the playbook. Most often, it's the complexity of our coverage scheme that limits early playing time for the younger players.
 

Bama Lee

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Oct 13, 1999
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The problem with the D was the lack of experience at D coordinator. I’ll also interject an opinion: I think CNS was obviously dealing with a serious issue with his hip. I know people who’d Had that procedure and the general consensus is they didn’t realize how much pain they were in until getting the surgery and the relief after the fact. I think we’ll get full affect CNS this fall.
That and a supposed top MLB that was either out of position on every play or forgot how to cover the RB out of the Backfield
 

davefrat

All-American
Jun 4, 2002
3,529
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Hopewell, VA
quite frankly, i thought Mack Wilson was downright awful at times last year...and he was consistently terrible in pass coverage.

i'm not sure we'll miss him much at all this season...other perhaps than some veteran leadership.
 

The Ols

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Jul 8, 2012
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I don't want it to look like I'm piling on Mack...but if Instagram=Leadership, he was top notch...
quite frankly, i thought Mack Wilson was downright awful at times last year...and he was consistently terrible in pass coverage.

i'm not sure we'll miss him much at all this season...other perhaps than some veteran leadership.
 

TheRealPokeChop

Hall of Fame
Jul 7, 2010
5,008
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Hueytown, Al
There was a real major issue covering the flat, hook/curl areas by the linebackers all year and any team with decent talent exploited it on 3rd and 4th downs.

I also think they lacked some creativity rushing the passer and didnt get the bench players involved to spark anything Down tge stretch.