Last night Alabama's nasty penchant to get burnt on big plays did them in even though the Tide made it interesting to the very end. The offense was either inducing three-and-outs or marching down the field on solid drives. They needed to do more of the latter.
What was disturbing was that the defense gave up a ton of yardage in the running game. And once Lee and Ragland were no longer in the game, the Tide had two good but really inexperienced players ~ Shaun Dion Hamilton (true freshman) and Rueben Foster ~ starting at linebacker on the first team defense. That was clearly evident on the huge 85-year touchdown run late in the game.
It was great to be in the first ever playoff for D1 football, but Alabama was just out of sorts at times last night. They didn't execute like they should have and maddeningly gave up all kinds of third-and-long conversions.
Alabama will lose many key players after this year, so it's difficult to know what to expect in 2015 in the ultra competitive SEC West.
Here are the players who will graduate or will likely enter the draft:
- Amari Cooper, WR
- Landon Collins, S
- T.J. Yeldon, RB (It's unclear whether he'll enter the draft, but Cooper and Collins are the top players at their positions in this year's draft.)
- Blake Sims, QB
- Xzavier Dickson, DE/LB
- Jalston Fowler, FB
- Christion Jones, WR, KR, PR
- DeAndrew White, WR
- Trey DePriest, MLB
- Arie Kouandjio, LG
- Austin Shepherd, RT
- Leon Brown, RG
- Brian Vogler, TE
- Nick Perry, DB
- Jarrick Williams, DB
The Crimson Tide will have to replace 3/5 of its starting offensive line and will lose one of the best receivers in Alabama history (among the likes of Don Hutson, Ozzie Newsome, and Julio Jones).
Regardless, what a depressing way to end the season.