The family and I took in the game yesterday. One of the benefits of scheduling a game like Western Kentucky is that the whole family can come along for what, hopefully, will be an easy win and a good day at the stadium.
A few rambling thoughts about yesterday’s game…
* Cellular service at the stadium – especially for AT&T customer – is non-existent. A contest was advertised during the game on the jumbo screens whereby fans could text a certain number to vote for their favorite play. Why bother? There’s no service.
*Alphonse Taylor (listed as an offensive lineman) is a specimen. To me, he looks almost identical to Marcel Dareus.
* Most of the passing game was impressive, especially this juggling catch by Christion Jones.
* Pass protection, however, was not impressive. We got a glimpse of protection problems last week against Michigan, but it became a full-blown issue against Sun Belt Conference foe WKU. The Hilltoppers recorded six sacks of AJ McCarron, although a couple of those were definitely because McCarron held the ball too long.
* Yes, the ground game was anemic, recording only 103 yards on 31 tries – and that includes a 18yard scamper from the punter and 32 yard run by Kenyan Drake in garbage time. Cause for concern? Yes and no. I don’t recall a more lackluster rushing effort by an Alabama team in quite a while. But on the other hand, that seemed by design. Perhaps it was because of the Hilltoppers loading the box with defenders. Perhaps it was an attempt to keep Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon fresh. Perhaps the focus on the passing game was an effort to generate big plays and help the team emotionally. Whatever the reason, I don’t think it was because we couldn’t run the ball. We just didn’t.
* Thank goodness for the Hilltoppers’ four turnovers. Without them, we had a bit of trouble getting off the field, as seen in WKU’s 38.4% third-down conversion rate. The Tide defense only allowed 224 yards, but the Hilltoppers didn’t have a bad game plan. They figured out a few vulnerable spots in the Tide defense – usually the soft zone in front of the linebackers – and hit those spots all day.
* Dee Milliner and Jesse Williams didn’t play and that created opportunities for John Fulton and Brandon Ivory. Both responded with good games and received valuable experience.
* It was very disappointing to hear about the injury to Jalston Fowler. Although the extent of his injury hasn’t been announced yet, rumors are already swirling that he’s gone for the year. Fowler has become a fan favorite at Alabama with high down-hill, smash-mouth running style. He’s also found a niche this year in the revamped fullback spot. He’ll be sorely missed. I hope his recovery is speedy.