W2W4 – Alabama vs Kentucky

The news of Bama’s back up quarterback abandoning his teammates and a defensive end who evidently is a wannabe Dirty Harry dominated the headlines this week but somewhere in there you should know that Alabama has an upcoming game this weekend against the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Wildcats opened the season by blowing a 35-10 lead at home against Southern Miss (a 44-35 loss) and then followed up that debacle up by getting crushed by the Florida Gators 45-7 the next week. However, the Cats come into the game with a little bit of confidence after beating New Mexico State (62-42) and South Carolina (17-10) in the last two weeks.

In preparation for this week’s W2W4, we studied the Wildcats’ game against South Carolina. Here’s what we gleaned from watching two of the SEC’s worst teams battle it out for 60 minutes: insomniacs need to have this game on some type of running TV loop. They’ll be asleep in minutes. Anyway, here’s what to watch for this week…

Alabama on Offense

With Blake Barnett’s departure, the key question we’ll have this week is how many designed runs will be called for Jalen Hurts. With the talented Barnett providing a safety net behind Hurts, perhaps Kiffin could afford to call running plays for Hurts all the live-long day. But now, without a viable backup (yes, we know all about Bateman), can Alabama afford to risk injury to Hurts?   We don’t think so.

Injuries are the other topic that seems to consume our thoughts this week. Injuries to Damien Harris, Robert Foster and Ardarius Stewart have taken away three of Alabama’s top playmakers. Even Calvin Ridley got dinged up a couple of times last week. Each one of these kids practiced in some form or fashion this week but as of this writing we aren’t sure just how much playing time Harris or Stewart will get. Thankfully, Foster and Ridley appear to be ready to go.

Mark Stoops has taken over the defensive play calling for Kentucky this season and he’s emphasizing a 4-2 defense predicated on blitzing and disrupting plays deep in the opponent’s backfield. In watching their game against the Gamecocks, Stoops seemed to bring an extra defender on nearly every single play. It’s not a talent laden squad so Stoops appears to be trying to dictate terms to opposing offenses rather than the other way around. Keep an eye out for these things on Saturday…

Bubble Yum: South Carolina made quite a bit of hay by getting the ball out to the flanks on some bubble screens. There were a few times that Kentucky only sent two defenders outside to cover three wide receivers (trips) so bubble screens always resulted in a very favorable three on two situation for the offense outside. With Stoops blitzing out of the slot a large percentage of the time, screens were very, very effective.

Living on the Edge Part I: Kentucky brought blitzers off the edge throughout the evening and several of these blitzes ran directly into some zone read runs.

Living on the Edge Part II: Whenever the Gamecocks busted a big run, it was typically when they pulled two linemen and got them out on the edge. Kentucky’s corners and safeties didn’t seem to be very interested in taking on blockers and making tackles so USC made a living by getting their linemen outside and attacking the flanks of the Wildcat defense.

Time After Time: Time after time you can easily tell what coverage and pressure the Cats will be bringing on any particular play. Just before the snap, Kentucky shifts their secondary around, essentially tipping off their blitzes. Look for Bama to employ some dummy counts (please stay onsides guys) in an effort to get Stoops to declare his coverages and pressures. Against South Carolina, the DB covering the slot would start creeping inwards while the safety would rotate over to cover the receiver that the slot guy was leaving behind. This screams blitz! Meanwhile, the other safety would rotate back to become the single high safety – all of this happened several counts before the snap so it should be easily diagnosed. Kiffin should be able to design some routes to expose this coverage and the line should have plenty of warning to allow them to pick up the blitz. Look for a few audibles this week to blow these single high coverages up.

Do Run, Run, Run: Zone reads will once again be the order of the day but the question we have is how many times Hurts will keep the ball himself. The zone read and the fly sweeps have been a staple of the offense and we think the true freshman duo of Hurts and Jacobs will do an outstanding job of running this play. My, we do love Jacobs…

Tidebits

  • In short yardage, Kentucky’s defense was consistently outnumbered against the strong side of the formation. Look for Alabama to effectively run to the tight end side of their formations with a lot of success.
  • The Cats did not pressure the QB at all with a four man rush. FYI – they rank 106th in the country in generating sacks (1.42 per game). Hurts should have all day, even in the face of the blitz.
  • Kentucky corner Derrick Baity is 6’3. Their other corner, Chris Westry, is 6’4. Wow. They do not, however, appear to be quick so posts, slants and in routes should create plenty of separation.
  • Going into the South Carolina game, Kentucky was giving up 58% of third down conversions. Yowza.
  • The two tall corners aren’t super quick so they play way, way off wide receievers. The Gamecocks got a ton of yardage on some easy hitches – they were very effective.
  • Counter plays killed the Cats so we think we’ll see Bama use these effectively.
  • Kentucky is 59th in total defense.
  • Kentucky is 96th against the run.
  • Alabama should be able to run at will.
  • Look for Hurts to beat the KY blitz with his legs when he’s flushed or when/if Alabama calls for a QB draw.

Alabama on Defense

Kentucky’s quarterback is a Juco transfer who is starting only his third game of the year. The Wildcats didn’t ask him to do much of anything against South Carolina as QB Stephen Johnson went 11 of 19 for only 135 yards and an interception. The Wildcats, instead, took to the ground and rushed for 216 yards against the Gamecocks. However, before you start believing in the Cats’ ground attack, you should know they only rushed for 94 yards on 34 carries against the Florida Gators. It’s honestly not a very good offense.

Kentucky’s offense isn’t very imaginative and it almost seemed like their only emphasis was on not turning the ball over against South Carolina. USC is a bad, bad football team so it’s unlikely the Cats can get away with such a conservative game plan this week. Once Alabama predictably stuffs the Wildcat running game, their young, inexperienced quarterback will be reluctantly throwing into the teeth of the Bama defense. Since KY ranks last in the SEC in giving up sacks (13), this should be quite a field day for the Tide D. Here’s what to watch for…

Bang Bang: Tim Williams was arrested this week for carrying a gun without a permit. Have guns become the new favored accessory that goes with their shoes and outfit? Why is he carrying a weapon in the first place? Is he expecting some trouble? And if he runs into whatever trouble he’s expecting ad pulls out the gun and fires it, what will become of his NFL career? These kids, man…what are they thinking?

Since You’ve Been Gone: At least Alabama has a bevy of pass rushers that can inflict some damage in the Cats’ backfield. With Williams likely held out this week, we’re excited to see Rashaan Evans, Christian Miller, and Anfernee Jennings take turns in wreaking havoc behind the KY line of scrimmage.

Where’d Who Go?: Kentucky has a true freshman left tackle and this poor kid was beaten like a rented mule last week. Look for the Tide edge rushers to fight each other in an effort to line up across from this poor guy.

We Must Protect This House: All of Kentucky’s successful runs started up the middle and then bounced outside. Boom Williams (5’9, 196) has quite a bit of wiggle and he was able to turn the corner nearly every time he bounced outside to the boundary. Even true freshman Benny Snell (220 lbs) showed a nice enough burst to get outside so edge containment will be the key to stifling the KY running game.

Tidebits

  • For an athletic looking QB, Johnson does not appear to be an aggressive runner and is easily brought down by first contact. Since he weighs only 183 lbs, I guess that’s understandable. With Kentucky giving up a league leading number of sacks, Johnson will likely take a pounding that his little frame won’t be able to stand up to.
  • Follow the H back to the football. Where he goes, the run goes.
  • Tight end CJ Conrad caught five passes for 133 yards and three touchdowns against New Mexico State. Saban defenses have historically had difficulty covering the tight end so he likely will be the key to the Kentucky passing game.
  • Kentucky really couldn’t generate any kind of a push in the middle of the line so tackles Dalvin Tomlinson and Da’Ron Payne should be able to stuff everything between the tackles.
  • It’s funny but the only other receiver that stood out against South Carolina besides the tight end was running back Boom Williams.   The Cats liked to spread him out and have him work against safeties and linebackers in coverage.

Alabama on Special Teams

Perhaps the best thing that came out of the Kent State game was the fact that Adam Griffith stroked an absolute bomb that would have been good from 60 yards out. Griffith is 6 of 8 on field goal attempts while Kentucky is only 1 of 2 on field goals this season.

Bama should win the field position battle since JK Scott ranks fourth in the conference in punting (44.65 avg) while Kentucky’s punter is ranked 9th (40.77).

Alabama and Kentucky rank first and third respectively in the SEC in punt return average so either team appears to have the potential to break a long one. Kentucky actually gave up a USC punt return for a touchdown but it was called back due to a penalty.

Final Thoughts and Prediction

If you study the stats and watch Kentucky’s game film against South Carolina, this should be an easy win for the Tide. If you want to spend some time worrying about this game, the injuries to Harris, Stewart, and Foster on offense and the dings to Rueben Foster, Eddie Jackson and Minkah Fitzpatrick against Ole Miss should give you some pause. Thankfully, Tony Brown’s suspension is over and he can now step in and fill any void left in the secondary.

Alabama should be able to move the ball on the ground against Kentucky. Florida rushed for 244 yards. Alabama should be able to pass the ball against the Wildcats, too. Florida passed for 320 yards. Heck, even New Mexico State rushed for 223 and passed for 277 against the Cats.

Alabama’s defense should limit Kentucky’s offense to 10 points or less and Alabama’s offense should find enough plays to eventually pull away over the course of the game. Kentucky’s defense has no depth so they will be left out there to die by their offensive teammates. Distractions and injuries are the only things slowing down the Tide this week…

Final Score: Alabama 37 Kentucky 9

Alabama vs Kent State Review

You know, every slugger needs to have batting practice. Every single boxer needs a punching bag.   And every US missile launched must first blow things up at a target practice. Well, that’s exactly what the Kent State game was – practice. Yes, Mr Iverson, “we talkin’ bout practice!”

Listen, there isn’t really a whole lot to glean from kicking defenseless puppies to the curb, so this week’s review will be of the short and sweet variety – much like the Golden Flash’s visit to Bryant-Denny. Kent State came, they saw, they collected their check and merrily went on their way, offering little to no resistance to the mighty Tide. Put it this way, Key West (a.k.a. the Conch Republic) actually put up more of a fight in their “battle” for independence than Kent State did.

So, here we go – here are the items that caught our eye during the game. This week, we are paying particular attention to the young pups who stood out during their practice, er, game reps…

Alabama on Offense

The Tide offense could pretty much do whatever it wanted to do during Saturday morning’s breakfast of Champions kickoff. We abhor the 11 CST kickoffs and apparently they aren’t all that appealing to the defenders from Ohio either since Bama’s first six possessions resulted in scores.   True freshmen Jalen Hurts and Joshua Jacobs totaled three rushing touchdowns while Blake Barnett won the “Where’s OJ “Waldo” Howard” by finding the tight end for his first touchdown since the Clemson game. Heck, Lane Kiffin even tried to raise the difficulty level by throwing touchdowns to middle linebackers (we see you Mack Wilson) but even that was successful! Here’s what we saw when we went back to examine the tape…

Mommas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be…: Saturday was a bad day to be a veteran running back for the Tide. Damien Harris left the game with what looked to be a gruesome injury on the first series of the game. Then, shortly thereafter, Bo Scarborough took a wicked helmet to the thigh. Yikes! For a moment, it appeared Alabama would be without their two veteran running backs for the foreseeable future. Bo has a thigh bruise (no shock there if you saw the hit) and Harris somehow just has a sprained ankle. The Harris injury was particularly disappointing as he was literally hitting his stride. He’s also the best blitz pick up guy at the position so his absence will be an issue in pass protection.

Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle: Joshua Jacobs may not be Shake N Drake but he dang sure jocked a Kent State defender with a sweet little wiggle. For a three star back whose only committable offers were to Air Force and New Mexico State, he’s been one helluva find. Kudos to the staff for their ability to identify talent and their fortitude to play them ahead of higher recruited players. Aside from his outstanding running ability, Jacobs is a threat in the passing game and he gave good effort when asked to pass block, too.

Who Are You: Well, hello there Cam Sims! Cam has seemingly been limited by injuries each and every season so it was really nice to see him make some plays Saturday. With Stewart and Foster suffering from knee injuries, suddenly Sims is having a chance to show us all what he can do. That little snag he made at the one yard line was a great back shoulder “hands catch” – nice to see him making plays.

Think of Me: Props need to go out to true freshman right tackle Jonah Williams. Andre Ware correctly stated that he’s been outplaying Cam Robinson and that was simply unthinkable at the beginning of the year. To perform well is one thing but to do it at such a young age….wow.

I Like to Move It: OJ Howard was a motivated blocker against Kent State, often leading the way for Jalen Hurts’ zone read keepers. Phil Savage mentioned that Howard did not appear in a lot of sets against Ole Miss so it was interesting to see him play an ton of snaps and inflict some damage each time he was asked to block. This was OJ’s best blocking game of his career (and I noted this by the third play of the second possession).

Tidebits

  • Jacobs’ Ladder – The sky is the limit for this kid as he has vision, moves, speed and hands. His ability to run the zone read with Hurts is really going to be fun to watch in the upcoming games while Harris’ ankle heals up.
  • Emmons – BJ Emmons was more highly recruited than Jacobs and he certainly showed well when toting the rock. Man he looks good with the ball in his hands. However, BJ needs a LOT of work in pass protection and this showed up several times on Saturday. Until he rectifies the blocking situation, he’ll be the third/fourth back in the rotation.
  • Right Guard – As we’ve been saying for a while, the competition at right guard rages on between Alphonse Taylor and Lester Cotton. Cotton is the more talented of the two (far more athletic) and with Taylor committing yet another false start penalty (the only one of the day – hooray!) it will eventually be Cotton’s job to lose (he provided the two key blocks on Jacobs’ 24 yard TD run).
  • Poise – Nick Saban probably appreciates Jalen Hurts’ poise even more than his legs or his arm. There were a few times that Hurts could have panicked but, instead, he calmly avoided danger and moved on to the next play. For instance, Hurts fielded a rolling snap and calmly attempted his play action fake before scrambling and throwing the ball away.
  • Teaser, Teaser – Anyone who wonders why we fell in love with Blake Barnett only needs to see footage of the perfect throw that he made to OJ Howard for a TD. First, it was a rope. Second, it was thrown to the correct shoulder, allowing OJ to never break stride. Third, it was just pretty.
  • Hitch – Hurts’ timing on the quick hitch/curl routes was outstanding Saturday. With the corners playing off, Hurts could pick up 8 yards on nearly every throw.
  • Ridley – We didn’t really like seeing Ridley hurt his wrist and then later get drilled in the end zone. Ridley is our family’s jewels…
  • Sprockets – Is Dieter German for drops? After catching 93 of 94 catchable balls last year, he’s averaging one drop a game this season. Barnett couldn’t have handed him the ball any better in the corner of the end zone but, yeah, he dropped it.
  • Barnett – When he has a clean pocket and can step into his throws, he can be special. However, his sacks per pass attempt are pretty ugly. Barnett has been sacked four times in only 19 attempts. This means 21% of the time Barnett drops back, he gets sacked. By comparison, Jalen Hurts has been sacked only three times on 102 attempts, or 3% of the time he drops back to pass.
  • Diggs – Trevon Diggs’ switch back to WR should be complete with Tony Brown coming back from suspension this week. Two of the first three plays of the second half were designed for Diggs. He will be special before his time is done.
  • Kief – Derrick Kief hasn’t had many opportunities during his Alabama career but he made the most of them Saturday. How about that diving catch to convert a 4th down? Nice!
  • Mack Wilson – I’m willing to bet whatever you want to bet that the TD Wilson caught was meant for OJ Howard, who was also wide open.
  • Dallas Warmack – He showed well at guard during his time on the field, opening the zone read for BJ Emmons in the second half.
  • Korren Kirven – He had some really nice moments at tackle, consistently turning his man out and opening up the left side.
  • Matt Womack – Didn’t anchor well, at times and couldn’t sustain blocks on smaller guys.

 

Alabama on Defense

We are just going to spare you the commentary this week and just point out some stats that pretty much tell the tales of woe for the Kent State offense:

  • Five first downs
  • 1 of 13 on third downs
  • 84 yards passing, completing just 7 of 16 attempts

When you are down 41-0 at half, I’d expect a 30-16 pass/run ratio. Instead, KSU ran the ball 30 times and just kept the clock moving, offering little challenge to the Tide defense. So, we’ll just concentrate on identifying a few young guys who stood out this week.

Tidebits

  • Keith Holcombe – When this dude comes into the game, you know pretty quickly. Holcombe is phenomenal in pass coverage but this season he’s been rocking folks from sideline to sideline. Look for more playing time for Mr Holcombe (which will impact Rashaan Evans’ snaps, of course).
  • Long Run – On the 42 yard run, there was a gap assignment bust that enabled the long gainer. Dion-Hamilton appeared to be late to fill the gap while Ronnie Harrison took a horrific angle. We wonder if Harrison is a little gun shy in run support after getting sucker punched last week by the Rebs?
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick – Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt blitzed Fitzpatrick at least a handful of times, resulting in 1.5 sacks and several pressures. Pruitt hasn’t really delved into his toolbox very much this season so it was fun to see him playing with Fitzpatrick out of the slot.
  • Tim Williams – On two separate occasions Williams started outside but then knifed back inside, beating the tackle AND the guard. Dude is just so impressive.
  • Anfernee Jennings – Every time #33 is on the field, he makes something happen. I saw him in two different All-Star games and he stood out during each one of them. Dude can play.
  • Josh Frazier – He held the point extremely well during his time in the second half. Something to build on, for sure.
  • Christian Miller – When #47 is in the game, he catches your attention immediately. Miller is known more for his speed than his power but he held the edge very well against the Golden Flashes. Speaking of Flashes, Miller flashes that speed and generates pressure on nearly every snap. Incidently, it was Miller who tackled the KSU QB inches short of a touchdown to preserve the shutout.
  • Raekwon David – Big 99 held the point well and even disengaged from the offensive line for a couple of tackles. He has a long way to go but showed well during his brief time out there. At 6’7, 315, Alabama will want him to continue getting snaps along the interior of the defensive line.

Alabama on Special Teams

Adam Griffith – Perhaps the best thing that came out of the game was Griffith hammering home a 48 yard field goal that would have been good from 60. He stroked an absolute bomb and should be brimming with confidence going into the meat of the SEC season. On the season he’s hit 6 of 8 field goals – both misses are from the 40-49 yard range. The 48 yarder was the first one he’s banged home beyond 40 yards this season.

Xavian Marks – We first saw Marks at the scrimmage before the A-Day game this spring. At the time, he lined up at WR, RB, punt return and kick off return and it was obvious the staff was trying to find ANY way to get the ball in his hands. So, it wasn’t too surprising to see him house a long punt return this Saturday. Credit key blocks by Deionte Thompson, Keaton Anderson, Joshua Jacobs, Bo Scarborough and Shyheim Carter led the way. Usually it’s just a couple of blocks that spring a big return but nearly everyone on the punt return group provided an important block.

Final Thoughts

I probably should have led with this but we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the firing of Les Miles in this space. I’ve read quite a few articles about the landscape of the SEC and, not surprisingly, the landscape looks a lot like Georgia after Sherman’s march to the sea. Nick Saban’s success at Alabama has resulted in a scorched SEC earth and the Lighthouse wants to shine a bright light on this subject.

For instance, did you know that 33 SEC coaches have come and gone since Saban was hired in 2007?

When Saban entered the league, there were five SEC coaches who had won national championships: Philip Fulmer, Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier, Les Miles and Saban.

Today, there is one single solitary coach in the SEC who has won a national championship. That, of course, is Nick Saban.

The reason Nick Saban has been successful and has remained successful since he first won a national title at LSU is his ability to adapt and react to the changing times in college football. Instead of sticking to his old school power football ways, Saban has encouraged his offensive coordinator to implement any scheme that could help him win football games.

Remember Mark Ingram running the wildcat? Saban was a fast adopter of what became a widespread use of the Wildcat. Saban’s offense also implemented the Pistol and still uses it today.

While Saban has been kicking and screaming against the hurry up, no huddle offenses and the run/pass option plays that have caused him to lose sleep at night as a defensive coordinator, he’s recognized their usefulness on offense. Ever since Blake Sims was at the helm, Alabama has used some semblance of the hurry up, no huddle and has added the run/pass option plays, zone reads and even designed running plays for his mobile QBs.

Alabama currently has the top scoring offense in the SEC. Who would have ever guessed that in 2009? From 2008-2011, Saban’s teams were 1-4 against teams scoring 28 points or more. Since then, he’s been a respectable 5-5. Conversely, Les Miles was 4-5 against teams scoring 28 points or more but, since 2012, he’s just 2-8.

Saban changed with the times. Miles did not, confirming that Les was less of an offensive coach that Saban.   Today, three yards and a cloud of dust will get your fired but thanfully Saban saw this coming several years ago and adjusted the way he recruits and the way he calls plays.

In Saban we trust. Why wouldn’t you?

 

 

 

 

W2W4 – Alabama vs Kent State

Kent State is just what the doctor ordered coming off of the hard fought, physical and grueling win over Ole Miss. Instead of giving you good folks a true “W2W4” analysis this week, we are simply giving you a sort of Santa’s wish list of things we’d like to see. Basically, we want to see a big win over Kent State that allows all of Alabama’s young players to get some much needed experience in the college game. This also allows Alabama to rest their starters and get them iced up for the meaty part of the season. Without further ado, here’s the W2W4 for this week!

Alabama on Offense

Games like Kent State are basically on the schedule so that coaches can work on whatever they think needs the most improvement. After posting 334 rushing yards last week, the Lighthouse has the sneaky suspicion that Kent State will see Bama take to the air this Saturday. The Bama Lighthouse also respectfully requests that the Alabama brain trust please not dial up many running plays for Jalen Hurts. Here are a few other things we hope to see (or not to see)…

Quarterback Play

This is a game for Jalen Hurts to continue to refine his skill set in the passing game. Hurts continues to be late on numerous throws so we’d really like to see him time one up and drop it into the basket of a wide receiver on a fly pattern. We’ve been impressed with his ability to work his eyes thru his downfield progressions so we want to continue to see Hurts work on this, as well.

At some point we would dearly love to see Blake Barnett get some time, too. Hurts is the unquestioned starter and we make no bones about that. However, Barnett will forever be our first love so we’d like to see him get an opportunity to spin a few throws.

Running Backs

Aside from seeing more of Joshua Jacobs, Bo Scarborough and BJ Emmons, we’d like to see Hurts work with his running backs on the timing of the zone read mesh point. This continues to be a work in progress and this game appears to be an excellent opportunity to get that straightened out.

Offensive Line

This is the number one thing we’ll be watching for this Saturday – the offensive line play. Can we please stop with the false starts, already? Let’s set the over/under at 2.5 false starts and we’d darn well better be under that mark.

Aside from reducing penalties, we’ll be keeping our eyes on the right guard position – currently anchored by Alphonse Taylor. Taylor is not yet in game shape and it’s shown in his consistency, or lack thereof. Ross Pierschbacher seems to have settled back into his left guard position but we think Taylor will continue to see competition at the right guard spot. Lester Cotton will likely get some time there as he’s clearly one of the best five linemen we have.

Wide Receivers

Look for Ardarius Stewert to either have the entire game off or to have a very limited role this week. That means that Robert Foster, Gehrig Dieter, Cam Sims, Derrick Kief and maybe Trevon Diggs should have many more opportunities to make some plays. In particular, we think Deiter and Foster will have the most chances to make a statement for more playing time.

Tight Ends

Last week against the Rebs, all four tight ends played critical roles in the victory. Everyone knows about OJ Howard but Miller Forristall, Hale Hentges and Brandon Greene each got to see a large amount of snaps and made the most of their opportunities. This week, it would be great to remind folks that OJ Howard is on the team and we’d like to see Forristall get some receptions, as well.

Alabama on Defense

Once again another Alabama opponent will be running the zone read/RPO concepts on offense. Kent State is a run first offense and that doesn’t bode well for having any success against Alabama. Quite honestly look for the Golden Flashes to keep the ball on the ground, keep the clock moving and get back on the buses as soon as possible. We do not expect Kent State to move the ball at all this week. Here’s what we’d like to see happen…

Defensive Line

Our favorite thing to watch in a game like this is when the young guys get an opportunity to get on the field. So, yeah, Allen, Payne, Tomlinson and Anderson will dominate while they are out there. But, what do we know about Raekwon Davis, Josh Frazier, Dakota Ball and a host of others? Let’s see Frazier hold the point at nose guard. Let’s see Davis relocate the line of scrimmage to the Kent State huddle. I want to see Dakota Ball’s continued emergence at defensive end. I love games like this because it let’s us see what the next wave has to offer up.

Linebackers

In that same vein, we just want to see Shaun Dion Hamilton and Reuben Foster play limited snaps this week. Heck, we’d be fine if Foster sat out this week and healed up after being carted off during the Ole Miss game. Can Rashaan Evans develop as a for-real-though option at linebacker? Can Mack Wilson Mack Truck a Golden Flash? Keith Holcombe has been impressive when he’s been given an chance – could he actually vault past Evans on the depth chart?

Secondary

This week we’d really like to see Marlon Humphrey get himself a pick-me-up bouquet in the form of an interception. Hump really needs to see something good happen after being beaten a few times last week. We’d like for Minkah Fitzpatrick to just kick it on the sidelines and let Hootie Jones and Shyheim Carter play much bigger roles this week. As we’ve mentioned a few times in this blog, depth in the secondary is a very serious issue and it showed up last week once Jackson and Fitzpatrick had to leave the game. The Lighthouse truly hopes that all the young pups will get some opportunities for some game experience because they will surely be counted on as the season wears on.

Special Teams

Will Eddie Jackson be returning punts again this week? We think not – we think Trevon Diggs will be back there again this week. Diggs is fun to watch and we are still expecting him to bust one loose sometime soon.

We want to see Adam Griffith bang something home. Anything. Insert jokes here.

Final Thoughts

This is a perfect week for Alabama to refine their offense, work on their passing game timing and get some folks healthy. It will be a runaway game with Kent State playing the role of the Runaway Bride trying to get away as fast as they can. We look forward to breaking down the game action of the young guns and, hopefully, celebrating the fact that Tony Brown’s four game suspension is finally lifted.

Let’s stay healthy this week!

Final Score: Alabama 41 Kent State 3