Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

#11 Alabama Takes On Arkansas in Potential Road Trap Game

It has been a rough start for the #11 Alabama Crimson Tide (5-1) halfway through the 2023 college football season. After a few games under their belt with some changes, however, the Crimson Tide are looking to get back to their elite play for a late push in the regular season. This week is a great opportunity for Alabama to continue their development in the passing as they go on the road this week to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-4). This could be a serious trap game for the Tide as the Razorbacks will have skilled position players, confident coaching, and the home crowd to give the Tide some trouble. Alabama looks to make 16 consecutive wins against the Razorbacks this Saturday.

Alabama Takes On Arkansas

Passing Game Should Be at Its Best

The Razorbacks haven’t been the same since safety Jalon Catalon left the team before the 2022 season. It doesn’t help that Arkansas has lost two key value leaders in linebackers Drew Sanders and Bumper Pool. As a result, the Razorbacks are coming to this game with a defense ranked 68th in the nation in points allowed per game (25.3) and 49th in passing yards allowed per game (197.3). The biggest weakness of the Arkansas defensive backs is their ability to defend the deep passing game.

Offensively, there shouldn’t be too much concern for Alabama, as they avoid key turnovers. There has been trouble with sophomore quarterback Jalen Milroe throwing interceptions in the red zone. Outside of that, he has been a sufficient quarterback driving the ball down the field with his passing ability. He is tied for seventh in the nation in average yards per pass at 10.4 yards.

Milroe is coming off his best passing performance last week in the 26-20 road win over Texas A&M. Milroe completed 21-of-33 of his passes for 321 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. His biggest problem, other than the interception, was holding onto the ball too long to take sacks. 

It helped the offense that wide receivers Jermaine Burton and Isaiah Bond stepped up in a huge way. Burton and Bond combined for 16 receptions for 293 yards and three touchdowns. This was the best performance from a receiver duo since Jameson Williams and John Metchie III were both in Alabama in 2021. If Burton and Bond keep playing at this level, the Crimson Tide will score consistently against Arkansas.

Tide’s Defense Needs to Prepare for a Dual-Threat Playmaker

It is no secret that dual-threat quarterbacks give Nick Saban’s defense trouble. KJ Jefferson is one of the most experienced and tenacious RPO quarterbacks in college football. In the last two seasons against the Tide, Jefferson completed 35-of-54 of his passes for 481 yards and four touchdowns. Jefferson possesses the ability to throw on the run, make elusive runs, and make difficult passes through the field. Alabama’s secondary has seen one of their experienced leaders star Malachi Moore go down with a lower-leg injury. He is listed as a game-time decision, but even if he plays, he will not be 100%. Sophomore Earl Little Jr. may have to step for the Tide’s defense on Saturday.

Through the first two games of the season, the pass rush had been essentially nonexistent. After the loss to Texas, the tenacious kicked up to create pressure in the backfield. Since the loss to the Longhorns in week two, Alabama’s defense has accumulated 34 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, and six interceptions. Through six games this season, Dallas Turner has accounted for nine tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Chris Braswell quickly follows him with 6.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. The pass rush can force Jefferson into bad passing situations. They will need to keep Jefferson in the pocket to avoid getting first downs with his legs.

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports



More Posts

Send Us A Message