Scrimmage games are all but over. After five week of play, Alabama has really only played one good team. On the other hand, we now have four straight games against more worthy adversaries: Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M (possibly the last threat to our SEC West Championship), and LSU.
The first team in this stretch is the Hogs. They started off strong, only to go down to A&M by three touchdowns. They took their anger out on a bad team (52-10) a weak later and now get us.
Do they impress me? In terms of the run, yes. They are averaging 197 rushing yards. It’s inflated by mostly weak opposition, but even A&M gave up a buck and 20 cents on the ground. Yeah, this rushing attack is for real.
Well, except maybe for one thing. Their offensive line isn’t exactly clutch. This was most obvious in their horrible loss to A&M, in which they were 9-for-16 on third down and went for it on fourth down three times and succeeded once. In other words, when the linemen were really needed, they blew it! The Hogs also lost three fumbles. One of those was clearly on the line: Dominique Reed ran for a loss of six yards and couldn’t build any power with which to protect the ball because defenders got into the backfield so quickly.
I must say that I’m pretty confident in my team heading into this game. Not that Arkansas sucks or anything, but they’ve been exposed. They also haven’t gone up against a defense like this. We have linebackers and defensive tackles who specialize in getting into the backfield really quickly. I think it’s going to be a long night for the Hogs.
Here’s how it shakes out. Arkansas will run the ball, but because their offensive line struggles to open holes, their running backs will frequently go nowhere. True, Rawleigh William III is an impressive back (559 yards rushing in five games), but a great runner with no holes doesn’t work against Alabama. This could slowly turn into a blowout as the three-and-outs are racked up and their defense gets tired.
This will not be our easiest game by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be far from the hardest, as Arkansas isn’t quite ready for the big time. ROLL TIDE!!!