Coming on the heels of a big win over Ole Miss, the Tide can now officially coast for a couple of weeks against Georgia State and Kentucky before they’ll take on a slightly more difficult Arkansas opponent. In the interest (or lack thereof) of time, we are just going to do a quick hitting preview of the Georgia State game. Why? Because they are awful. How awful? They are currently ranked 208th in the Sagarin rankings – good for dead last in all of Division I football.
However, before we encourage you to watch the Georgia State, the Lighthouse wants to shine a bright light on one of our favorite scenes of Saturday night’s victory over the Rebels. Throughout much of the season, it’s seemed as though the Bama players have not been playing with passion or with love for one another. They’ve seemed disjointed, for lack of a better word. Well, all that changed Saturday night. We absolutely loved the passion and energy that was bursting out of the players Saturday night! The stadium was electric and the Bama bench was as pumped as I’ve ever seen them. When CJ Mosley batted down the fourth down pass, the whole bench erupted onto the field in celebration. BTW – If you still have the tape, go back to TJ Yeldon’s touchdown run. There’s an end zone shot that shows Kenyan Drake running down the bench exhorting him on as Yeldon is scampering to the end zone. Pretty awesome. Perhaps they are working with that one heartbeat once again…
Now, on to Georgia State. We know the starters will be gone by the third quarter but here are a few reasons to watch the entire blowout with interest if you are a Bama fan….
Alabama on Offense
Second String Offensive Line: Sure, it will be interesting to watch Chad Lindsey lead the first string line on Saturday but I’m not sure what we’ll be able to glean from their performance. I mean, they should destroy Georgia State. If they don’t, well, we’ll cover that in the review. Instead, we are interested in watching the snaps that Grant Hill, Alphonse Taylor and Leon Brown get this week.
Hill has been moved to right tackle and has been extremely impressive even as a true freshman. Many felt that he could be the answer to the right tackle position so he’ll get a chance to (Georgia) State his case. Taylor, meanwhile, was very impressive in mop up duty against Ole Miss. He did commit a false start but he also cleaned a few Rebel clocks, as well. Lastly, the much maligned Leon Brown had some very good moments Saturday night so he may be breaking thru at the left tackle position. We’ll see.
Running Backs: God willing, both TJ Yeldon and Kenyan Drake will get at least two quarters off on Saturday. That means that Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny and maybe even Dee Hart (?) will get a chance to shine. We are still man crushing on Derrick Henry so we are eagerly anticipating him getting the ball.
Wide Receivers: One starter we are concerned about is Amari Cooper. Time off has not helped his foot heal so we are curious if he’ll sit this one out again? And, if he plays, will he and AJ continue to mis-read one another on his routes? Lastly, we’d like a little more Chris Black time please. With his one catch going for a touchdown this season, he’s obviously a touchdown scoring machine so throw him the damn ball! (We went a little Keyshawn Johnson on ya there just as a joke so settle down…)
Quarterbacks: If you’ve followed the blog, you know that we still feel that Blake Sims at quarterback means removing over half the playbook. Sims isn’t a drop back quarterback and he’s not the guy who can get the ball out to Bama’s talented fleet of receivers. We still like Alec Morris and we hope that he, too, can State his case this week.
Alabama on Defense
Time to Make the Doughnuts: Call it a donut, a doughnut or a Bagel but we want the Alabama defense to pitch another shutout this week. Hey, it’s the only source of drama we can come up with this week!
Defensive Line: Our main question is whether or not LaMichael Fanning will ever play again? Another question is will Ryan Anderson get a chance show out? He’s a player and just needs an opportunity. Speaking of opportunities, in limited chances we love what we’re seeing from true freshman Tim Williams.
Linebackers: After the starters depart, look for Reggie Ragland and big hitting freshman Reuben Foster (now wearing a #9 jersey) to be the inside backers. However, if Saturday is any indication, Dillon Lee may be the “hair” apparent to CJ Mosley – look for him to be in the nickel and dime packages in the second half.
Defensive Backs: Eddie Jackson’s outstanding performance Saturday night makes us wonder how long he will stay in the game this week. He obviously needs more reps so will he depart when the rest of the starters do? And whatever happened to Geno Smith? Will he play much? And, lastly, true freshman Maurice Smith has shown flashes of being a very good corner and, at one time, was said to be ahead of Jackson in the pecking order. Look for Smith to step forward on Saturday as a kid to watch for the future. (Update: With Clinton-Dix’s suspension, Landon Collins will move to the deep safety position so someone will have to play his role as a pseudo linebacker in the dime packages.)
Alabama on Special Teams
Place Kicker: Adam Griffith has been waiting in the wings just in case Cade Foster faltered and from what we’ve seen, Griffith is going to be a good one. The height and trajectory that he gets when he strikes the ball is very, very impressive and his approach to the ball is bit quicker than Foster’s.
Punt Returner: There’s a huge list of kids on Alabama’s team who could return punts for anyone in the country. Once Christion Jones leaves the game, look for Cyrus Jones, Chris Black and maybe even a couple of others to get a chance at returning one. We don’t expect more than two kickoffs from Georgia State so there won’t be much experimenting with the kick returners this week.
Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!!! That’s essentially what Georgia State is coming in for – to play dead so that Alabama’s third, fourth and fifth stringers can get some game experience. Honestly, this game is one of those head scratchers that makes you wonder how it ever came to be in the first place. The Lighthouse staff is staunchly against these types of high school opponents appearing on a top flight FCS team’s schedule and we look forward to the days when they no longer appear in Tuscaloosa. Anyway, the outcome will never be in doubt so the only fun you can have as a Bama fan is to watch the young kids so you can know what to expect from them in the years to come. Enjoy!
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