During its amazing run since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Alabama’s defenses have been known for having top playmakers on the defensive line that put the pressure directly on the opposing offensive line and quarterback.
From Jonathan Allen to Marcell Dareus to Terrence Cody, the Tide have provided nightmares for opposing coaches when trying to prepare for their game against Alabama.
According to an anonymous SEC coach, that is different this year.
“Alabama doesn’t have that difference-maker rushing the passer as it did in the past,” the coach told ESPN. “Without a Jonathan Allen or a Tim Williams getting after the quarterback, the defense has been put in a bind: Do you expose your secondary by giving the quarterback too much time or do you expose them further by rushing a safety or cornerback? It’s a win-win for the offense, no matter what.”
It is amazing to say consider Alabama finished No. 1 in scoring defense this season, allowing 11.5 points per game, but the coach might have a point. The Crimson Tide sacked the opposing quarterback just 31 times this season, down from 54 in 2016 and 52 in 2015, respectively.
They must now go against a Clemson team in the College Football Playoff semifinal that has an offense similar to that run by both Auburn and Mississippi State, both which the Crimson Tide had trouble containing this season. In the loss to the Tigers, Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 21-of-28 passes for 237 yards while having time to throw in the pocket.
If the Crimson Tide are unable to get to Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, who is more of a runner than Stidham, the Tigers might have a field day against the Alabama defense.
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