Bama vs. Tennessee – 3 keys for the Tide to get it done
Alabama has been taking care of business thus far in the 2020 season and look to continue that trend this afternoon as they travel to Knoxville.
The Crimson Tide will face the Volunteers today at 2:30 pm CT in a rivalry that has been dominated by Alabama in recent history. Bama has won the last 13 meetings and can make it a 14-game win streak today if they can win on the fourth Saturday in October.
Here are the three keys to making that happen.
Getting the defense off the field on third down
Defense has been a focal point for Alabama since the start of the season. There were times that the Tide defense was a concern especially in the Ole Miss game. However, it seems the defense has improved as evidenced by the performance against a good Georgia team last week.
Third downs are going to be key for the Tide defense. Tennessee should be a relatively easy opponent to stop considering they only have a 26 percent conversion rate on third downs this season.
If Alabama can get their defense off the field on third down and get the ball back to Mac Jones and the offense, things could get ugly early for the Vols.
Continue the strong passing attack
Jones has been progressing very well through the first four games of the season. His success is thanks in part to his arm and decision making. Yet, we can’t forget about the unbreakable offensive line or the best receiving core in the nation.
Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, and John Metchie III are the dynamic trio that make the passing attack so lethal. Think back to Saban’s earlier teams with great receivers. For instance, Julio Jones from 2008-2010 was one of the greatest Tide receivers ever but was the only real star at the position. Now the Tide have three stars at wide out, and they make opposing defensive backfields pay.
For Tennessee, it is tough to know what to defend against. Najee Harris is running all over opponents this year, but as earlier stated the passing game is the best it has ever been at Alabama. What do both of these phases of offense use as fuel to jump start their game? A strong offensive line.
Offensive line play
This one goes without saying, but I’m going to anyway because the line doesn’t get enough credit. Of course, the experts see it, and the fans know it is there. Too many stars on the field is the reason that the line is overshadowed.
The entire Tide offense is reliant on how well the big guys up front play, and the numbers Alabama is putting up are the best testament to the their ability. Total offensive yards for the season are above 2,200 with only four games played.
If Alabama’s offensive line keeps being dominant, and the defense continues to grow throughout the season, the Crimson Tide will likely find themselves in a playoff game later this year.
If these three keys are followed this afternoon, they will extend their win streak over Tennessee to 14.
Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.