Alabama Needed The Bye Week

Alabama Needed The Bye Week

The week before the LSU Tigers match-up is always a bye week for the Alabama Crimson Tide. This bye week comes at a highly crucial time before the Tide host the #1 LSU Tigers on Saturday, November 9th. A continuation of the game of the century between the two top teams in the nation will force both participating to be at their best. This bye week will allow the coaches and players to plan out more strategic plays and formations. It’s clear that Alabama needed the bye week. There are a few players that could be the difference-makers on November 9th against LSU.

Alabama Needed The Bye Week

QuarterbackTua Tagovailoa

The Tide became a completely different team when they lost their star a couple of weeks ago in the second quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers. Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle sprain on his right leg forcing him to get surgery on it. On October 23rd, he went through the surgery and would be physically tested on October 30th. There have been signs that his rehabbing and healing exceed expectations. Despite positive signs, the Tide are listing Tagovailoa as a game-time decision against the Tigers. Among the personnel for the Tide, Tagovailoa has been needing this extra bye week to get himself healed for LSU.

Tagovailoa is the centerpiece of their second-ranked scoring offense (48.6 points per game) and eighth-ranked total offense (506.9 total yards per game). He had a dominating performance last season for the Crimson Tide. He had, however, never had to win a game at the last moment since he became the starter. This match-up against the Tigers will require him to be at least healthy enough to pass consistently, make key reads, and connect his passes from all range. The long duration from his surgery to the match-up will be 19 days. During that time, he missed the Tide’s easy 48-7 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks on October 26th. The Tide rarely missed a beat without Tagovailoa as the starter. They will measure the severity just before the LSU game.

Wide Receivers Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith

Tagovailoa isn’t the only reason the Tide’s passing game is ranked fifth in the nation in passing yards per game (338.6). The Tide’s wide receivers, led by Jerry Jeudy and Devonta Smith, is the nation’s top position group. They have the production value and NFL caliber players equivalent to last year’s Clemson Tigers’ defensive line. This bye week was key for them as they needed to rest, heal, and focus on the mistakes of the first part of the season. For Smith, he suffered a contused shoulder in the win over the Razorbacks last week. Smith caught four receptions for 67 yards against a poor Razorbacks defense. He has been the most surprising factor of the Tide’s high caliber passing game in eight games this season. He is listed as probable to play against the Tigers, but the Tide will need him completely healthy even with Tagovailoa under center.

Jeudy needed the extra time to get mentally prepared against the Tigers. So far this season in eight games, Jeudy has caught 52 passes for 682 yards and eight touchdowns. He has a chance to replicate last season’s stats with 68 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. It may be difficult for him to repeat as the Fred Biletnikoff Award winner like he did last year. The biggest concerns for Jeudy are the missed opportunities he encountered mostly in the game against Tennessee. He showed some displeasure with the miscommunications he had with Tagovailoa. These types of plays happen but he showed more emotions than he normally expresses. He’ll need to take the full week needed before LSU to get himself in a more positive state of mind.

Head Coach Nick Saban And His Coordinators

Alabama head coach Nick Saban must be given much credit for getting his team undefeated going into November again. It’s even more impressive that he is doing this with first-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and defensive coordinator Pete Golding (as the main coordinator). There isn’t a huge problem with the offenses and defenses aside from injuries. An extra week before facing the number one team in the nation gives the Tide more capability to prepare efficiently. Sarkisian has coached well to make the offense the eighth total offense in the nation. Golding has faced multiple obstacles regarding his defense especially consistently playing six freshmen in the lineup. He will need to properly prep his defense for the fourth-ranked scoring offense (46.8 points per game) and second-ranked passing offense (377.6 yards per game) of LSU.

Safety Jared Mayden

Mayden became a consistent role player last season for in the Crimson Tide’s secondary. This season, he has become more than a role player as he is sixth on the Tide’s defense in total tackles with 29. He is also fifth on the team in solo tackles with 19 as well as three pass deflections and two interceptions. While Mayden is not the main starter, he plays the fifth defensive back in the Tide’s dime defensive package. Last week, Mayden missed the match-up against the Razorbacks due to a groin injury. His status for the game against the Tigers is questionable is the status of the Tide’s main dime package. If Mayden cannot go, freshman safety Jordan Battle will have to fill-in for as the extra defensive back.

 Kicker Will Reichard

When the Crimson Tide recruited the number one kicker in the recruiting class of 2019, Tide Nation was excited. Those expectations of consistent field goal kicking have not been fulfilled mostly due to the hip flexor injury to Reichard. He suffered the injury in the game in week four against Southern Miss on September 21st. Reichard missed the following two games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. He came back to see if he was healthy enough to punt and kick again for the Tide against Tennessee on October 19th. His lone punt in the game was for 33-yards caused him to reinjure his hip flexor and felt serious pain. He is questionable for the matchup against LSU. If the Tide gets into another field goal kicking battle with LSU again (a 9-6 overtime loss in the regular season in 2011) they cannot rely on Joseph Bulovas.