The Tide heads to Kentucky this weekend as a nearly four touchdown favorite. That’s impressive, but not unexpected considering the No. 1 ranked team in the country is taking on the dregs – at least record-wise – of the SEC.
For Alabama, again, at least on paper, this should be an easy win. On the football field, where it actually counts, it should be a win as well. So when you are the top ranked team in the country and when things haven’t been all rosy the first five games of the season, you do want to see improvement in a few areas. So what do I want to see? Here goes…
1) I’d like to see a clear-cut dominating effort by the Tide defense. Statistically, even when considering the Texas A&M game, the ‘Bama defense continues to improve. Players have been shuffle in the secondary and along the defensive line and the unit’s play continues to improve. I’d like to see that continue against Kentucky. Will they throw a shut out? I doubt it. Those things are hard to come by in the SEC. Will they cross the 50 yard line? Probably so. But I’m not talking about a super human effort. I just want to see the defense continue to gel and continue to get nasty.
2) I’d like to see some quarterback sacks. Statistically, we don’t play in the back field as much as other teams in the league. Granted, teams aren’t interested in their quarterbacks holding onto the ball against the Tide, but so far, the unit has only tallied six sacks in five games. Touching the quarterback changes things and we haven’t see Alabama’s defense do that much this year.
3) I’d like to see the offensive line continue to gel. This will be the third game for new center Chad Lindsey to get lots of playing time. Nick Saban has also indicated true freshmen Grant Hill is almost ready for a prime time role. These things aren’t bad, but do mean the offensive line isn’t quite as settled as it really needs to be at this point in the season. But this point in the season also isn’t as bad as it could be with Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee on the schedule before a November date with LSU. So now is the time to get the offensive line locked down and playing well. I’d like to see that start against Kentucky.
4) I’d like to see the run game dominate games. Sure that’s hard to do when teams stack the box, but I’d still like to see the offensive line and running backs play so well that we could run when we want to.
5) I’d like to see Amari Cooper show up. Coach Nick Saban indicates Cooper is on his way back from a foot injury. I’d like to see Cooper makes some progress and return to his All-American type level of 2012.