Three Sheets to the Win against Tennessee

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.


Three Sheets to the Win Over Ole Miss

Each week, the Lighthouse staff selects three offensive and three defensive players to shine a light on as the keys to victory.  We are calling it “Three Sheets to the Win” because if we are wrong, we’re blaming it on being three sheets to the wind when we picked them.  Make sense?  Also, in sailing terms, sheets are lines.  So, we’ll need these three lines all pulling in the same direction if we want to sail this ship to Pasadena!  This week, we look at three offensive players who will have to have a good game in order to subdue and skin the Black Bear rebellion from Oxford, Mississippi.

Three Sheets to the Win on Offense

Ryan Kelly – Hey Diddle, Diddle, we’ve been soft in the middle and that problem was extremely evident against Colorado State.  When your center is blown up so badly that he’s tripping up your running back four yards deep in the backfield then you’ve got problems.  In the second half against Texas A&M, Kelly and the guards began pulling and they carved a path so that Terrance Cody could have averaged 7 yards a carry.  But, against CSU Kelly didn’t pull one single time.  Not once.  It appears to us that Kelly may be better out in space so we are curious to see how he’ll be used Saturday night.  Either way, he’s got to do a much better job at the point of attack for us to establish any semblance of a running game.

Amari Cooper – Last year against Ole Miss, Cooper had a coming out party that hadn’t been seen up in here since the likes of Julio Jones.  Coop snagged 8 passes including two for  touchdowns and five first downs and was one of the main reasons the Tide ended up winning the game fairly easily.  This season we’ve seen the Mini Cooper instead of the Super Cooper so I’m wondering if it’s time to panic just a little bit.  Cooper has been hampered by a toe/foot injury and he was held out against Colorado State to make sure he’s as close to full speed as possible for Ole Miss.  After a week off, we are expecting big things from Coop and we need to see a little of the burst that made him so good last season.

Cyrus Kouandjio – Cyrus struggled against Virginia Tech and Colorado State so it will be interesting to see how he handles five-star DE Robert Nkemdiche.  Nkemdiche loves to take an inside rush and can be very disruptive with his size and quickness.  Over the years, Kouandjio has had difficulty with the smaller speed rushers who attack from the outside but he usually fares well against the bigger ends.  This will be a fun match-up and Cryus really needs to shine Saturday night against the true freshman.

Three Sheets to the Win on Defense

Deion Belue – Turf toe injuries can be debilitating, especially for a corner, so it will be interesting to see how close to 100% Belue is Saturday night.  Wikipedia tells us that turf toe is an injury to the connective tissue between the foot and one of the toes. When the big toe is involved, it is known as “turf toe” and the only cure is either completely staying off of it for a month or surgery.  Belue has done neither.  Saturday night will be a tough night for him to not be operating at 100% because the Rebels’ receivers are very big and very fast.  Belue will not only be challenged in pass coverage, but he’ll also be trying to disengage from bigger and stronger men in order to make some tackles in the run game.  It could be a long night if he’s not healthy.  But, if he is healthy, he could make a huge difference in our secondary.

Adrian Hubbard/Denzell Devall/Ed Stinson – We list this trio because they will have the daunting task of containing the edges of the Alabama defense.  When Ole Miss is clicking, Jeff Scott is scampering around the ends and getting out into the wide open spaces of the secondary.  This little dude’s got jets so keeping him hemmed in the middle of the field is the key to victory.  Scott burned Vandy and Texas with sweeps that ended up as 70+ yard touchdown runs so Hubbard, Devall and Stinson will have to find a way to not let him outside of containment.

Brandon Ivory/Darren Lake – Honestly, I struggled with this selection.  I mean, you really could focus on anyone in the secondary and you’d have a pretty strong case for a player who will need to have a strong game.  Landon Collins, Vinnie Sunseri and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will all need to play very well as they will be asked to stuff the running game AND play the deep passes.  We also think Eddie Jackson may be a key player in the game, as well.  But, our mantra this week has been stopping the run so that’s where we turn our focus.  Stop the run and you stop Ole Miss.  It’s just that simple.  In order for CJ Mosley and Trey DePriest to be effective, they are going to need some help from our biggest boys in order to stop the interior running game of the Rebels.  With Ole Miss attacking in so many directions, the linebackers are going to be asked to run laterally to the ball all night long.  However, if Brandon Ivory and Darren Lake are not holding the point in the middle, then that will be one more thing our linebackers will have to worry with and this will limit their ability to be in hot pursuit.  So, our defensive tackles will be required to stay gap sound and make sure that any interior running plays are negated before they can get to the second level.


Three Sheets to the Win over Colorado State

We’ve been a little pressed for time here at the Bama Lighthouse this week so we apologize that some of the usual content has been a day late and a dollar short.  Between travelling to College Station and some technical issues in my mom’s basement (kidding!), we’ve seemingly been playing a catch-up all week.  I still haven’t had a chance to grade myself on the A&M game – that should be an entertaining little task…

So, there won’t be a W2W4 this week but, in the meantime, we did have a moment to give you guys three guys to watch on each side of the ball as we prepare for the Colorado State game.

Remember, each week the Lighthouse staff is going to select three offensive and three defensive players to shine a light on as keys to a victory.  We are calling it “Three Sheets to the Win” because if we are wrong, we’re blaming it on being three sheets to the wind when we picked them.  Make sense?  Also, in sailing terms, sheets are lines.  So, these three players need to be pulling the sheets in the same direction if we want to sail this ship to Pasadena!

Three Sheets to the Win on Offense

With Colorado State giving up 200+ yards on the ground the last two times out, it would be a safe bet to think that Alabama will use Saturday to continue to establish their running game.  Look for a heavy dose of running the football along with a few deep shots from AJ McCarron just to make it a complete victory.  And, this should be a complete victory.  Here are your guys to watch Saturday night…

Kenyan “Shake N” Drake – It was great to see Kenyan Drake’s performance last week and we believe you will get an even heavier dose of him against Colorado State.  The Rams’ defense is undersized, much like the Aggies were, so you should see Alabama pound the rock with a variety of backs.  We LOVE Drake’s burst and vision and we think he has a big game tomorrow.

Amari Cooper – Out of AJ’s nine incompletions against A&M, SIX of them were thrown at Amari Cooper.  These two haven’t been in sync yet this season so Saturday would be a lovely time for them to work out the kinks.

OJ Howard – OJ was one of the calls we got right last week and we think that he should be a big weapon against CSU Saturday.  The Rams will be lining up in a 3-4 front most of the afternoon and we just don’t see how any of their linebackers will be able to stay with Howard.  And, if the running game gets going like we think it will, the play action passing game down the seams should be wide open.

Three Sheets to the Win on Defense

Bradley Sylve, Geno Smith and Maurice Smith – Yes – I listed three guys right off the bat.  You got me.  But, all three of these guys are in the same position – fighting for a starting job in the secondary.  We think each will be given an opportunity to show the staff that they can be the guy.  Of the three, we kinda like Sylve for some reason but Mr and Mr Smith are up and coming stars.

Cade Foster – Ok, so he’s technically not a defensive player.  But, since we are already breaking the rules by listing three guys as one “sheet” then we feel brazen enough to put a kicker down as a defensive player.  Foster has yet to attempt a field goal this season and we really think he should break the seal prior to the Ole Miss game.  Otherwise, we are afraid the first time Cade is called on for a field goal then Foster might be Australian for shank.

Sacks – Denzell Devall, Adrian Hubbard, Xzavier Dickson and company will all be relieved to finally be able to cut loose and rush the passer.  Against Virginia Tech and Texas A&M, the pass rushers had to be cognizant of keeping their rush lanes in order to contain the quarterbacks.  However, on Saturday they can finally play with some reckless abandon.  Look for the mother of all onslaughts early on to get them some much-needed confidence heading into the Ole Miss game.