Why Alabama’s Game Plan Will Be Much Different This Week
After Alabama's devastating upset last week in College Station, they are hungry for their next win going into week seven. But are they prepared for Mississippi State's unique offensive game plan?
This season, Mississippi has been a very pass orientated team, averaging close to 57 passes thrown per game. Alabama's defense has seen 27 passes on average and no more than Miami’s 32. This could be a problem for Alabama, considering the amount of stress that the Bulldog's offense will have on the defensive linemen as well as the defensive backs. The last time that Alabama's defense has seen more than 50 passes in a single game was during the 2016 National Championship against Clemson.
“You have to change the way you think,” Nick Saban said. “The old fashioned, gotta stop the run on regular downs and play the passes. You’ve gotta kind of change to, we’ve got to stop the runs but we’ve got to play really good pass defense on every downs because a lot of their passes are control game, get the ball out quick, short, gain five, seven, catch and runs so you’ve got to break on the ball and tackle well. It’s a little different mindset that your team has to have and your signal caller.”
This makes the rotation of linemen and edge pass rushers very important in this game.
“You’ve got to rush three guys sometimes, you’ve got rush four guys sometimes, you’ve got to rush five guys sometimes,” Saban said. “I think you’ve got to mix it up and try to disguise what you’re doing but there’s no question about the fact that it’s more taxing for a defensive lineman to play against a passing play and exert the kind of effort that you have to as opposed to what you may have to do on a running play.”
“It’s a space game, I also think that the defensive lineman have to run more on a lot of their perimeter and short passes because that’s the kind of game it is,” Saban said. “Sometimes when they throw it, it’s nothing more than a quick pitch and everybody needs to be rallying and leveraging the ball.”
Saban also notes, “And if we can’t do that,” he said, “it can be a long day for us as a defense.”
Saban seems to have a good idea of what to expect from the Bulldog's offense this week. Although it is not an ideal game plan for Alabama going into this week's game, the defenses execution on the line and in the short pass game will be very important.