There are a few fascinating matchups this week against Tennesse. Here are three each on offense and defense..
Chad Lindsay – He’s going up against his biggest challenge of his career. Daniel McCullers is 6-8 and is listed at 352 lbs. Um, sure he’s 352 lbs. And I’m just a big boned 180 lbs, myself. Alabama’s interior running game will have problems moving McCullers so watch Lindsay to see how they find a way to move Mt McCullers.
AJ McCarron – Tennessee has picked off 12 passes this season and is ranked third in passing efficiency defense. They love to zone blitz and force quick throws into areas that they are expecting to see the throws. AJ will have to have one of his best decision making days because Tennessee’s secondary is pretty good.
Blitz Pickups – Alabama has struggled to pick up blitzes and that was evident even against Arkansas. How Alabama picks up the UT zone blitzes will be a big, big deal this week. Tennessee has injured a couple of QBs this week so protecting AJ is priority #1.
Darren Lake – Lake is some big shoes to fill with Brandon Ivory missing this week. On some plays, he can be dominant but on many others he can be rooted out of the middle at the point of attack. Lake is going to have to step up this week and play with complete effort.
Cyrus Jones – Tennessee can threaten a defense with Marquez North (6-4, 215) and if they see North matched up on tiny Cyrus Jones, they will attack him early and often. We last saw Jones flailing at the Texas A&M beast that is known as Mike Evans so we’ll have to see if Jones is up to the task this week. Bradley Sylve is out with a high ankle sprain and Eddie Jackson appears to be in the dog house so all eyes will be on Jones this week. And, if we lose Jones, it looks like Alabama’s favorite Caboose, John Fulton, will be forced into action.
Dee Liner – Rumor has it Liner will play this week and that makes sense. The attrition across Alabama’s defensive line has been rough this year so look for the Tide to employ several four man fronts that allow their OLBs like Devall, Hubbard and Anderson to put their hand in the dirt. Liner has the ability to be a wrecking ball and it appears he’ll be needed this week to supply some depth.