Thursday, January 4, 2018

First thought on Alabama

I know. It's so hard not to keep re-living those memories of the Rose Bowl. What an epic win! But we didn't do all that work just to rest on laurels, right?

The halftime adjustments by Tucker and Smart were what we've seen all season, just on a grander stage. My initial reflection was that Tucker got away from trying to contain Mayfield and squeeze the pocket, and used more stunts and blitzes, especially up the middle.

Well, I was partially right, as this video will show best. It's the back to back sacks on Mayfield in the third quarter that really started prove that the Sooners were going to have a tougher row to hoe in the second half.

The first sack is a coverage sack in my opinion. Tucker again uses four rushers to squeeze the pocket and by the time Mayfield tries to use his legs because there's no where to throw, Ledbetter is in his face with an easy sack.

And then...well, Tucker lets the boys loose!

Those two plays prove that, even though it may not have played out that way in the first half, Georgia had the defense to go up against this high-powered offense.

Okay, but aren't we supposed to be talking about Alabama? Yes, and that's my next point.

Jalen Hurts has a high of 16 completions in one game this season. And that was in the Sugar Bowl. We know he can hurt you with his arm, but only if you don't manage to stop the run.

Both of these defenses Monday night are going to be trying to do the same thing - stop each other's run game. And I think both are built just for that.

But I think Tucker will use similar schemes in containing Hurts that he did in the Rose Bowl's second half. He wants to contain Hurts as much as he can and force him to throw when he's uncomfortable. Stopping Harris and Scarbrough is a topic for later, because that is surely Tucker's biggest headache this week. Alabama has gained nearly a thousand more yards rushing this season than they have passing.

But games like this tend to come down to quarterback play. Hurts is a true winner, for sure. I like his style and leadership. Plus he comes up big in big moments.

But I like our guy. I think Fromm complements his offense in ways Hurts can only dream of. I just hope Tucker and those Savages can minimize Hurts' impact on the game.

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing...Go Dawgs!

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