Get To Know The Crimson Tide
We get a look at the enemy.
Colorado State fans it is time to get to know Alabama
Colorado State goes on the road to take on the No. 1 team in the country in the Alabama Crimson Tide. This, of course, will be a very difficult matchup and will take a Herculean effort if the Rams are to get the upset.
To get to know the Crimson Tide better we reached out to Brent Taylor of Roll Bama Roll to get a better look at Alabama.
1. This game, in theory, should be tougher than playing last weeks Mountain West foe in Fresno State. So, is there any unit or player from Colorado State that is a cause for concern on Alabama’s side?
Take this with a grain of salt, as I admittedly have not watched a single CSU game since the days of Hollywood Higgens, Garrett Grayson, Crockett Gilmore, and Dee Hart. Off some cursory glances at your stats/performances this season, I immediately came away with a chief concern : wide receiver Warren Jackson is averaging 24 yards per catch. And he’s 6’5”. That terrifies me.
For the last 6 years or so, the Tide secondary has repeatedly been beaten over and over by tall receivers on deep balls and 50-50 fades. I’m not sure why we keeping getting burned on these, but it is a tangible trend, nonetheless.
Jackson only has three catches this season, so he’s really a bit of an unknown. But oftentimes the unknown is the most dangerous. Is this the game he breaks out and begins his path to an NFL career? Or am I worried about nothing? I guess we’ll just see.
2. Who has the defense decided to go with at linebackers to replace Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis? Or will this be another week of trying out players?
I’m sure the door is wide open for competition to step up and see who takes charge, but as of now, former walk-on Jamey Mosley gets the first look as an edge rusher in a base nickel defense. He’s a veteran 4th year player with solid run defense, size/length, and always in position, but is a bit lackluster as an impactful pass-rusher.
When Alabama brings in a 4th linebacker (either in a 3rd and long at the expense of a lineman, or in a pure base 3-4 look), true freshman Chris Allen looked to be the next man up last week. He’s a 6’5” monster with enough athleticism and energy to be a human highlight reel all on his own, but seemed a bit overwhelmed in his first collegiate action—often out of position or letting himself be run way deeper than the QB.
True freshman Dylan Moses is also a contender here. He’s potentially the most athletic player ever recruited here (235 pounds and runs a 4.48 forty yard dash), and has already been making an impact on special teams and at middle linebacker. However, the injuries have seen him moved to outside linebacker, and he often rotated for Mosley and Allen last week. He’s not an experienced pass rusher—more of a chasing linebacker—but the athleticism is obvious.
Past that, you may see sophomore Mekhi Brown or freshman Ben Davis. Or sometimes middle linebackers Keith Holcombe and Mack Wilson will rotate to the outside in certain situations.
Overall though, Mosley, Allen, and Moses are the three to watch.
3. Why are people making a huge deal about quarterback Jalen Hurts throwing numbers after just two games?
A few reasons. Though we won most of 2016 with mostly horizontal passing game, Clemson and Washington exposed that in the playoffs. And a national championship defeat left a sour taste in the mouths of Alabama fans..
A new offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, was hired from the New England Patriots. So all offseason, we’ve heard that a Patriots guy has been developing Hurts in his downfield passing game. So obviously we all built up this image of Jalen Hurts becoming the next coming of Tom Brady with 4.46 speed as a runner before the season started.
Now two games in, Hurts has barely cracked 200 yards passing in two games combined, with only a couple of balls completed deeper than 10 yards.
As such, the world is falling.
On the other hand, he’s been much more accurate so far this season, and hasn’t yet thrown a bad pass. He has scrambled a lot more than many of us expected though, and that’s something that’s never going to sit well with a fanbase who prides itself in “traditional” things like running the ball up the middle and a pocket QB working from under center.
In my opinion, the bigger issue with the offense thus far has been an underperforming by the offensive line that is not allowing Hurts time to set up any passing plays outside of curls, outs, and screens.
4. The Rams offense has the potential to be an all-around good unit (that Colorado game was odd with some phantom offensive PI calls). What defensive position group could the Rams possibly exploit?
The obvious answer is the deep ball. Alabama’s pass rush was decimated this offseason when Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, and Ryan Anderson all got drafted in the first two days of the NFL draft. Then in @eek 1, Alabama lost two outside linebackers for the season and two more for the foreseeable future, and as such, are now relying on a former walk on and two true freshmen to bring the pressure.
On top of that, as good as our secondary is at many things, they struggle to win jump balls, as I mentioned above.
If Nick Stevens has time to accurately deliver deep shots down the field all night long due to an anemic pass rush, and consequently force our defense to start blitzing much more frequently, then that’s likely your best chance of success on offense.
5. What should traveling Colorado State fans do while in Tuscaloosa for this game?
Oh this is a fun one. Eating is the obvious answer. There’s some big party spots like the Houndstooth, Rounders, and Galettes, but I generally found everything about them to be sub-par, aside from the excitement.
If you get up early (and I mean really early, it gets crowded on gamedays), the Waysider is one of the best breakfasts you’ll ever eat.
For some good American pub food, the Avenue Pub is top notch, and boasts one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in a cool atmosphere. Glory Bound is a really popular local place for Gyros—both in a more traditional greek style and in styles more American (think pita bread with chicken and ranch and bacon, or the sort). Mugshots is a specialty and creative burger joint right next door to Glory Bound. Hooligans is another Mediterranean place, and is one of my favorite places to eat there, though others don’t seem to be as high on it as I am.
Southern Ale house is a little further from campus, but has exceptional southern food as well.
You’ll likely hear about Dreamland BBQ, but I’ve found that it’s declined a little over the years. Archibald’s is the best BBQ you’ll find, and Hoos-Q is pretty good too.
DePalma’s is the upper-end Italian place, though Mr. G’s is just over the city line in Northport, and much less known with good portions and better prices. There’s also City Café in downtown Northport, but its only open for breakfast and lunch, and be prepared to wait for a table (and it’s on you to find your own table).
If you’re looking for a slightly more upscale seafood place, you cant go wrong with Chuck’s fish.
If you’re a coffee fan, Heritage House is a popular cozy spot with plenty of space and couches and the sort. Nehamiah’s Coffee House is hidden in the center of the residential section of Tuscaloosa, and does a lot of charity work if you like to buy for a place that supports that kind of stuff.
Wilhagen’s is a great, fairly calm sports bar with most anything you might want. Druid City Brewing company is a local brewery with a loyal customer base.. The Alcove is another more laid-back bar hidden in downtown with a lot of generally respectful folks.
While you’re actually on campus, there’s the Paul Bryant Museum, if you just happen to want to experience a building full of highlights, art, and trophies dedicated to Alabama’s 16 national championships. You’ll definitely want to go to the quad, where you wont even be able to see the grass with all the tailgates set up. Denny Chimes presides over it all, and tolls out every 15 minutes, plus the occasional song is played over the chimes on gamedays.
The Ferguson Student Center is a giant building with everything you could possible need in it, from Chick-Fil-A and Subway to public computers, a souvenir/supply store, and an art exhibit. Plus there are ample tables, chairs, and couches to rest on.
As a former engineering student at Alabama, I’d also add the Shelby Hall Science and Engineering complex as a place to go look at. Shelby Hall itself is a giant domed building shaped like a molecule discovered by a former UA professor, and the quad surrounding it is absolutely beautiful. And if you can slip into the SERC and NERC buildings surrounding it, you never know what kind of engineering equipment you might find in there (like an earthquake simulator).
Bevill Hall is a little harder to find (and may be locked on the weekend), but if you can get in it, there are numerous glass rooms with research being conducted on metals and other materials, plus some sections on geology and rocks, and a mini indoors rainforest. Plus some giant lasers and a distillation column in the basement.e
I’ll stop here, but if any of you CSU travelers have any questions at all, feel free to tweet me @btbama22
5. What is your prediction for this game, and what are the chances of Colorado State making this game a close one?
I think Alabama comes out a bit more motivated after a somewhat lazy win over a severely outmatched Fresno State last week. At the same time, CSU’s offense seems a bit deadlier. When all is said and done, I see something along the lines of 49-17 Alabama. I hate to sound arrogant, but I do not see any way CSU keeps it under 3-4 scores.