By Tony Carter
After another dominating defensive performance the Alabama Crimson Tide (2–0) welcomes the University of North Texas to Bryant Denny Stadium on Saturday. North Texas (0–2) is coming off two performances in which they gave up nearly 45 points per game. North Texas surrendered roughly 700 yards against Houston in their last outing. North Texas comes in with the 115th ranked defense in all of FBS which has been allowing nearly 550 yards per contest. Alabama is allowing less than 1/3 of that number.
Nothing suggests anything to change significantly this weekend either.
After giving up an opening drive to Penn State which resulted in a field goal, quickly Alabama and its defensive staff led by Coach Kirby Smart made subtle adjustments. He put defenders in better positions for success to make the plays. Penn State was harassed and assaulted the rest of the game up until the final drive. Alabama’s defense is giving up less than 2 yards per carry and opposing offenses are putting up only 9 points per game thus far. Either hardly spells success against the Tide defense that has yet to be bent or broken.
Don’t hold your breath on that one. This group is good. Real good.
Although Alabama’s pass blocking has been rather functional (2 sacks in 2 games), run blocking has been less than desirable.
Alabama’s running backs have been consistently hit behind the line of scrimmage in both games. Alabama Crimson Tide star running back Trent Richardson has shown hints of hesitancy while looking for holes in the line which haven’t been there. Alabama appears to have some early seasonal problems within the interior line that seem to manifest themselves in the running plays between the tackles. The Tide has enjoyed most of their run success on the corners. Alabama running back Eddie Lacy is averaging over 7 yards per touch and most are designed off tackle plays. The coaching staff should obviously be aware of this; so don’t be surprised to see more plays off the edges and plays with trap blocking schemes.
Another concern for Alabama is the issue with the kicking game. Alabama is 10th in punting in the SEC (just under 39 yards per punt) and rarely kicks balls into end zone (much less a touchback). One bright spot is the kick return team which is 4th in SEC at just less than 26 yards per effort.
Keep an eye on North Texas kick returner Brelan Chancellor who had 286 yards against Houston in their last game.
Prediction: Alabama 41 North Texas 10