In this episode Tom and Dave from the Alabama Football Podcast breakdown the Tide’s closer than expected win over the Aggies of Texas A&M.
All the elements of recent romps by the Tide were present on Saturday but Alabama wasn’t able to string them all together. The ball distribution was there as 6 different receivers caught passes and at least 3 more were targeted. Big plays were had by Damien Harris and Calvin Ridley. Creativity was also on display in the pivot route for a touchdown by Henry Ruggs.
But credit the A&M’s defense for making it a tough row to hoe. Stout inside and athletic outside, the Aggies disrupted the Tide run and pass games and more than doubled the Tide’s loss yardage stats on the season.
Open Receiver Position
Calvin Ridley is the undisputed number one receiver for Alabama’s passing attack. But who’s ready to step into the breach when called upon? Who can play the number one role when Cal can’t go?
It’s an easier question to answer in the abstract, but Saturday when Ridley was unable to return after suffering a thigh bruise the theory was put to the test.
Unfortunately Robert Foster had a forgettable sequence that appeared to take his head out of the game. But true freshman Jerry Jeude appeared both willing and able to fill the void in delivering an important 14 yard catch on a field goal scoring drive late the contest.
The jury remains out on who really is the second alpha in the receiver room but Alabama may have an emerging candidate.
Isaiah Buggs had a breakout game with a team leading 10 tackles. Buggs had been a staple in the Tide’s Defensive Line rotation all season, but against the Aggies he stepped in for the injured DaShaun Hand and demonstrate why he was the top rated JUCO DL prospect in the spring.
Saturday may have been the worst special teams outing for the Tide since the Ole Miss loss in Tuscaloosa in 2015. Most surprising was that JK Scott was the focal point with punts both shanked and blocked.
However, even worse was the cutesy attempt to convert rather than possess a fumbled kickoff by A&M. Had Jamie Mosley simply possessed the ball, the Tide would have almost certainly opened up a larger lead early in the contest. And we’ve seen how that has faired for opponents in the past.
Mini Game balls
Anyone can read a headline, but which players contributed in more subtle ways to the Tide’s fortune?
Alabama’s Next Opponent
Next up for Alabama is a Homecoming celebration as the Tide welcomes the Razorbacks of Arkansas to Tuscaloosa.
Kick After – a ‘lil nugget that didn’t make the show
Last week I enjoyed one of my favorite and more recent college football traditions. You see, I have a friend with whom I worked back in the late 90s who is an A&M grad. Over the years we’ve remained in contact and we’ve talked or emailed lots of college football.
When the Aggies joined the SEC a few years back we started trading reports over our respective teams to help prepare the other for the game – team tendencies, non-headliners to watch, and some predictions on how we might respectively attack the other team.
Last week was a particularly long work week and I put his email off most of the week. But when I finally read it through and started working on my response, it dawned on me how much I enjoyed that annual process and how much I’ve valued keeping in touch with my Aggie buddy over the years.
BTW Chad, if you listen to the podcast, you won’t like my opening remarks but all in good fun.
Oh and here’s a bonus extra point. We predicted this about a year ago – see Tomorrow’s Headlines Today.
We hope you’ll check out the Podcast and in the meantime, Roll Tide!
Photo credit – Vasha Hunt