This past Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide faced their first ranked opponent of the season in the #13 Texas A&M Aggies. The Tide took down the Aggies with a decisive 52-24 score. This is just a continuation of the dominance that the Tide displayed after missing out of the CFB Playoffs for the first time this past season. In just two weeks into the season for the Crimson Tide, there are plenty of takeaways as they advance further in the 2020 season. Today, we look at five of the Alabama Crimson Tide takeaways after two games.
Mac Jones is a legitimate Heisman Contender
The Crimson Tide entered the 2020 season with some Heisman talk for running back Najee Harris. Just two weeks into the season, the passing game has shown to be elite. This shouldn’t be surprising as Jones took over a talented passing offense that finished third in the nation last season. Jones’ ability to read the coverage schemes and throw the ball deep into huge plays makes the Tide’s one of the most productive in the nation. Jones has thrown for 684 yards, six touchdowns, and only one interception on 38 completions (out of 51 passing attempts). He is even throwing to a different group of receivers. If Jones continues to play at a high-level, expect him to continue getting votes for the Heisman Trophy.
The Tide have a legitimate three-wide receiver slate
One of the reasons why the Crimson Tide have one of the most productive passing games in the nation is their impressive slate of receivers. Senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith and slot receiver Jaylen Waddle return to lead the passing offense. Smith was needed to continue his dominance as an outside receiver while Waddle’s production would increase due to the departure of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Waddle has been explosive in two games as he has caught 13 receptions for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver John Metchie had a huge breakout game against the Aggies last Saturday. Metchie caught five receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Metchie and Smith will be the playmakers on the outside while Waddle will be a dynamic threat all-over the field.
The running game needs to be developed more
Our second of the Alabama Crimson Tide takeaways revolves around the running game. While the Tide’s passing offense is playing a high-level, the rushing game is left more to be desired. In just two games for Alabama this season, they have rushed for 220 yards. This is despite having a great experienced group of offensive linemen and their star running back in Harris. Against the Aggies, the Crimson Tide rushed for 109 yards on 28 carries for an average of 3.8 yards per rush. Harris was held to 43 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Overall, Harris has rushed for 141 yards and five touchdowns on 29 carries. The Crimson Tide offensive line has had some problems creating some push against some of the more aggressive defensive lines in the SEC. For the Tide to endure a long season against more efficient defenses, they will need to develop the rushing game.
The coverage game is strong from man coverage players
Much like last year, the Crimson Tide’s pass defense was one of the most efficient areas to defend. In two games, the Crimson Tide’s defense has allowed 558 passing yards including 335 from Texas A&M. One of the most efficient areas for the defensive backs are their man coverage players. Cornerback Patrick Surtain II is locking down the best wide receivers for Missouri and Texas A&M. Their other cornerback in Josh Jobe has done an excellent job in his first full-season starter. In week four against Missouri, both Surtain and Jobe allowed only four receptions for 27 yards on 10 targets. Freshman star Malachi Moore has done well to step up as an extra man coverage player for the Tide. Moore was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week as he accounted for six total tackles, four solo tackles, and two pass deflections in the win against the Aggies.
Tide still lacking solid pass rush after game two
We move to the pass rush in our final Alabama Crimson Tide takeaways after two games. Last season, one of the biggest flaws for the Tide’s defense was the lack of a consistent pass rush. Through two games this season, the Crimson Tide’s defense accounted for only three sacks. This past weekend, the Crimson Tide did not contribute a sack against the Aggies’ offensive line. Senior defensive end LaBryan Ray was the only defensive linemen to accumulate a stat of a half of a tackle for loss and half a sack against Missouri. Defensive end Byron Young, defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis, and freshman jack linebacker Will Anderson Jr. accounted for a tackle for loss. The Tide’s most consistent pass rusher is their jack linebacker in Anderson. They will need more reliability in their pass rush to help their pass defense, especially with their weaker safeties.