Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bama week - a battle of the minds and the muscle

Most of the commentary I've seen and heard this week gives Georgia the edge in having multiple game changers. Personally, it's probably closer to even except for one guy - Sony Michel. I agree that the Dawgs may have better talent at receiver, but it's largely untested in the scope of a game of this magnitude.

Still, the Tide lost one of their best receivers in Robert Foster a couple weeks ago. To fill some of that void, Saban hinted that they may use Cyrus Jones in a receiving role Saturday against the Dawgs. Jones is a senior defensive back and one of Alabama's more explosive players. He's their leading punt returner and is a guy that can find space quickly.
Saban said using cornerback Cyrus Jones some at wide receiver is "something that we've discussed and certainly, probably have to consider in the future." Starting wide receiver Robert Foster suffered a season-ending injury against Ole Miss Sept. 19. Tide wide receivers had six dropped passes last week.
Still, OJ Howard remains the big target that Pruitt's defense must focus on stopping. Or at least minimizing his impact.
Howard leads the team in receiving yards despite not catching a touchdown this season. At 6-foot-6 242 pounds with wide receiver skills, the Alabama native creates matchup problems for every team The Crimson Tide faces. He’s quick and athletic enough to gain clean releases at the line of scrimmage. He’s too big and physical for defensive backs to cover him but too athletic for linebackers. It’ll take a strong game plan and proper execution to throw him off his game.
And Ty Flournoy-Smith has a couple catches on the season too. Remember him?

I said early in the week that this is one of those games that will be won in the trenches, and I still believe that. Both teams have been in games like this before, even against each other. In the fourth quarter, when the game is in the balance and there is a critical third down, someone is either going to win or lose right there at the line of scrimmage.

That being said, the offense that does the better job stretching the defense from sideline to sideline as well as down the field will have a tremendous edge in winning the line of scrimmage. Kiffin will want to get Drake, Henry, Stewart, and Ridley into space with the ball, just as Schottenheimer will try to with Chubb, Michel, Mitchell, Blazevich, and McKenzie.

I think both teams will want to do that without getting cute. Imposing one's will on the other will be the order of the day for at least the first half. Who pulls out the reverse pass or other trickerations out of the playbook first?

This game is why Richt went out in January and got Brian Schottenheimer. This game is why we got an offensive line coach with a hard edge in Rob Sale. This game is what makes Tracy Rocker so pissed off at the entire world.

In short, tighten those chin straps boys. Rammer Jammer Yeller Hammer. Hunker it down one more time!