Ryan Fowler’s Reaction: “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” – Texas A&M Edition
Every Monday, Nick Saban spends part of the afternoon showing his players the good plays, bad plays, and ugly plays from the previous Saturday.
The good section highlights what the team did well in the game; individual plays, series of plays, moments of the game that went good for the Crimson Tide.
The bad section focuses on plays that were run incorrectly, maybe a play designed to pick up more yardage but failed. It might include simple mistakes, a turnover or just a simple missed block or tackle.
The ugly section could also be called the disaster section, plays that went completely wrong or injuries. Ugly plays are learning moments for the team. Part of discussing the bad and ugly plays includes thinking through what they could have done differently.
Hard to find many good things to highlight when you survived against a team that came into Bryant-Denny Stadium as a 24-point underdog, granted the line was probably assumed that Bryce Young would play a significant role. Young covers up many Tide weaknesses with his amazing talent and these deficiencies were on full display Saturday evening in Tuscaloosa.
This team will only be able to go as far as Bryce Young can take them. I hate to put so much pressure on one player but without Young, this Alabama team cannot reach the Crimson Tide standard. There are many great players on defense and the last statement is not meant to take anything away from them, but in the current CFB era you must be productive on offense and Alabama barely got the job done against a non-elite defensive team. So, my good is that Bryce Young’s injury should not keep him out for a significant amount of time.
I would also like to highlight a crowd that brought their best performance to Bryant-Denny Stadium on a night when the Crimson Tide needed it the most. Head coach Nick Saban even took a few seconds to highlight the crowd’s performance and said they were one of the main reasons the Crimson Tide won. "I think the fans were great, I think the fans probably had as much to do with us winning the game as anything. I think the atmosphere they created certainly kept the energy level up with our players, but we did a lot of things that were not winning football.” Bryant Denny Stadium was so loud I could not hear the person standing directly beside me on the sidelines during the final quarter of play.
Another good, that should be in the great category is the amount pressure the Crimson Tide’s defense was able to put on Haynes King and the Texas A&M Aggies. Without this type of performance, I think we may have had a major upset in Tuscaloosa. Will Anderson had 8 quarterback hurries and as a team the Tide had 14 total QB hurries.
I could do a small thesis on the many things that did not go the Tide’s way on Saturday evening. The Crimson Tide offense struggled to get anything going through the air, which allowed the Aggies to stay with a loaded box for most of the night.
I thought without the Tide’s superstar that everyone’s play should have been a little higher with more intensity and focus. To be fair, this was lacking for most of the game until late in the 4th quarter.
I do not place that blame on Milroe for the lack of production, I place most of the responsibility on the Tide’s offensive coaching staff. The game plan could have highlighted the strengths of Milroe under center instead of forcing him to be a player that is not in his comfort zone. Saban also seemed frustrated in the post-game press conference with the lack of production on the offensive side of the ball. I wonder how much of that was on the coaches and not on the players. Or maybe they thought that Bryce Young was going to be able to play until it was too late to adjust the game plan. I still think Alabama’s offensive line could get more push but it’s hard to get that push when there are 7-8 guys in the box on almost every play.
Alabama ranks 112th in college football in penalty yards per game and 13th in the SEC. This has been a problem for most of the season and once again was on full display in several crucial moments of the game. Some of these penalties are simple mistakes and some of these are gigantic mistakes that come when you are least expecting them, like an unsportsmanlike conduct after a touchdown. These are the things that could prevent this team from winning a championship, this team just does not have a large of a margin of error against quality teams.
Normally we are highlighting Will Reichard for his dependable leg, Reichard missed 2 field goals that could have provided some extra cushion, instead, these misses breathed life back into the Aggies. When the star quarterback is not playing, everyone’s play needs be "A" level and Reichard’s play was not.
Simply put, Alabama needs Bryce Young to play to beat Tennessee in Knoxville, Without him, the streak that stretches back for 15 years will be in serious jeopardy. Ugly is just thinking about a group of Vol fans with those bright orange shirts sitting in Neyland Stadium enjoying a victory cigar after ending the streak against Alabama.
Coming up Monday on The Game with Ryan Fowler on Tide 100.9, we will discuss the good, bad, and ugly. You will also have a chance to win prizes from Daniel Moore Art, starting at 2pm on Tide 100.9 and on the free Tide 100.9 app.