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)…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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