Monday, September 19, 2016

[Belated] Sunday Hangover: Ole Miss

What a crazy game that was. 

The Tide has played three games, and Eddie Jackson has scored a touchdown in each. The first two were pick-sixs, and Saturday's was a game-changing punt return. 

But just when you think a team has the other put away, the Rebels' onside kick was successful because of the ball talking a big hop over Ridley's head. Then Kelly threw yet another long, jump-ball throw, and the Ole Miss receiver came down with it in the end zone. 

As usual, my constant refrain when Alabama had the ball on offense was "Run the damn ball." They didn't early on. Kiffin kept running all kinds of short passes and end arounds that drove me crazy. Finally, later in the game they established the run with Harris and Jacobs, who surprisingly if I remember correctly, came in as the second back in the rotation. 

Stewart went out with what sounds to be a knee sprain, and I'm told that true freshman Diggs might get more playing time at wide receiver in the next few weeks because of Stewart's absence in upcoming games. 

Hurts was really the star of the game though. He didn't look that great early on but really manned the offense well in the second half. During the second half, they called a number of designed running plays for him, which I suspect was something Ole Miss didn't practice much on. He's a dual threat quarterback. Saturday he was the leading rusher with 146 net yards. Harris had 144 yards. 

Still in the future I'd like to see them run the ball in a more traditional manner by using the running backs inside or outside the tackles and using Hurts as a runner as a highly effective curveball. 

The defensive backs need to do a much better job going after contested balls. I'm sure that will be a strong point of emphasis in the coming weeks. When a quarterback hangs 421 passing yards on a defense mainly through big plays, something has to change for the better, especially with Saban coaching the defensive backfield. 

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