Alabama’s Key Tasks Versus New Mexico State

Coming into week two of the 2019 season, Alabama is more than a 50-point favorite. To achieve that we look at Alabama's key tasks versus New Mexico State.
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Going forward we will discuss Alabama’s key tasks versus New Mexico State, but let’s recap. Week one of the 2019 season College Football season is not enough to figure how successful or how poor a team will be. The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide started the game against the Duke Blue Devils very slow in the first quarter. They kicked it up by scoring 35-points in the second and third quarter to finish with a 42-3 win over Duke. The New Mexico State Aggies (0-1) on the other hand suffered a grueling 58-7 loss to the #23 Washington State Cougars. The Aggies defense allowed 35-points within the first half from the Cougars offense. Overall, the Cougars accounted for 618 total yards on offense against the Aggies offense.

Alabama’s Key Tasks Versus New Mexico State

In week two the Crimson Tide have a matchup against the Aggies that are looking to prove themselves. Alabama has a chance to light up the score consistently and this is a great chance for the Tide to build themselves more. So, what are Alabama’s key tasks versus New Mexico State?

Continue to Develop the Freshman Linebackers

True freshmen Christian Harris and Shane Lee were thrown into the starting inside linebacker roles after season-ending injuries to Dylan Moses and Joshua McMillion. In their first collegiate game and their first start against Duke, both Harris and Lee performed very well. Harris and Lee both accounted for the second-highest team tackles for the Tide in the game with six total tackles. Most of all, neither Harris nor Lee folded when the play came to them up the middle. They were very efficient in chasing the ball carrier and in coverage. This game against the New Mexico Aggies will be a great continuation of playing time and starting experiences for both freshmen. It will also allow both players to fix the mistakes they made in week one.

Spark Up the Run Game

The Crimson Tide’s offense didn’t start off with high-power scoring efficiency against Duke. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his receivers were the main providers of the Tide’s offense due to the first quarter suspensions of first-string running back Najee Harris and second-string running Brian Robinson Jr. by head coach Nick Saban. Overall, the Crimson Tide accounted for 145 rushing yards on 42 carries against the Blue Devils. The only rushing touchdown came from third-string back Jerome Ford late in the fourth quarter. The Crimson Tide will get a chance to revitalize their run game against an Aggies defense that gave up 128 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries to Cougars running back Max Borghi. Harris will be instrumental in keeping the offense well-balanced throughout the season. To do that he will need to establish a strong performance on the ground against New Mexico State.

Develop the Kicking Game

Crimson Tide fans were excited when they recruited the top-rated kicker in the 2019 recruiting class in Will Reichard. He was impressive in the spring scrimmage game while Joseph Bulovas continued to struggle from the previous season. Reichard went 0-for-2 against Duke by hitting the crossbars. Tide fans were understandably disappointed in the kicking game as the struggles led to drives with no points on the board. Coach Saban was pleased with Reichard’s performance. There is much room for improvement with Duke being the first real game in his collegiate career. He will get the chance to do so in the home-opener against New Mexico State.

Shake Off the Rust in the Pass Rush

The Crimson Tide defense didn’t get a chance to maximize the potential of their pass rush due to the dual-threat offense of Duke. Last Saturday, Alabama only accounted for one sack coming from outside linebacker Terrell Lewis. Alabama’s pass rushers were able to get to Duke’s backfield often but didn’t result in tackles due to the read options. This Saturday, the defense will face a New Mexico State offense that attempted 42 passes, all from quarterback Josh Adkins. The Aggies play in a more traditional style of offense which will give Alabama’s pass rush time to work. Tide defensive coordinator Pete Golding may not reveal too many different blitz packages against the Aggies. This will give defensive linemen like LaBryan Ray, Raekwon Davis, D.J. Dale, and Stephon Wynn Jr. more opportunity to account for sacks.

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