After the loss to Florida State coach Saban explained, "This is very disappointing. I was not pleased with the way we played."
Head coach Nick Saban reiterated that this week, saying Alabama needs to execute with more toughness and consistency and be more competitive.
After watching the Georgia and Florida State game, a lot of fans have decided to place the blame on junior quarterback John Parker Wilson. He completed 28-of-53 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s game. That was the second highest amount of pass attempts in Alabama history behind Scott Hunter’s school-record 55 pass attempts in a 29-26 loss to Auburn at Legion Field in 1969.
However, the problem presents itself, in the fact Wilson barely had any long passes in the game, and he lost a fumble towards the end putting the final nail in the coffin for the Crimson Tide. He led a great drive down the field afterwards to bring it back to a seven point contest, however as coach Saban put it, “It's only good to come back in a game if you come back and win."
However that wasn’t the whole story from last Saturday’s game. The rushing attack was almost non-existent. Terry Grant, who started off the year like a cannonball, only accounted for a total of 36 rushing yards. That’s just not acceptable if the Tide is going anywhere.
The offensive line was also inconsistent, and the receivers just weren’t par for the course in terms of getting open. It was just a poor showing for the Alabama offense. The defense did their best, but you can’t win the game with an offense like that unless you force turnovers, and the Tide only had one turnover, and it just wasn’t enough.
Fast forward to this week. Houston is coming to town, and they aren’t your prototypical “Homecoming” opponent.
Coach Saban commented, “I have been pleased with the effort and attitude in practice this week. We have had two of our better practices from an intensity standpoint, even though this was a very difficult preparation for us. The scout team has done a really good job of trying to simulate not only a no-huddle offense, but also one that has a tremendous amount of multiples.”
Houston runs a different style attack than any the Tide has faced thus far in the season. Both quarterbacks for the Cougars are athletic and are capable of making big plays.
Blake Joseph and Case Keenam will both figure to take snaps for the Cougars on Saturday. It’s up in the air as to who will look to take the most snaps. Keenam took the brunt of the load in the first three games against Oregon, Tulane, and Colorado State. Joseph took the most snaps last week against East Carolina, however. It will be interesting to see who coach Briles will use most of the day.
The Houston offense is unique because a lot of wide receivers and offensive linemen take wide splits, which will make it harder for the Tide defense to wrap up runners. With Greenwood questionable for Saturday’s game, Brandon Deaderick might have to fill in on the line.
The line should be ready to face the Cougars’ attack, with freshman nose guard Brian Motley available to assist. He broke his hand earlier this year, and he broke his ankle just days before the season opener during practice.
“I had been looking forward to my first game,” said Motley. He is only about 80-90% right now with his footwork still recovering. However, the Crimson Tide’s top nose guard going into this year will look to have an impact on Saturday.
On the offensive side of the ball the Tide is going to aim for more consistency. That starts with Terry Grant carrying the rock. Look for coach Saban and coach Applewhite to establish him early in the game to lessen the amount of pass attempts on John Parker Wilson.
The Tide should be able to have more options this Saturday against a Conference USA defense, than they did against the Seminoles and Bulldogs. D.J. Hall, Matt Caddell, and Mike McCoy should make an impact also, with Keith Brown recovering from a concussion sustained against Florida State.
As for predictions on Saturday, I predict that John Parker Wilson will throw a bomb on the first drive to either McCoy or Hall. He did it against Arkansas, and he needs to attempt to win back some of his critics. A big statement on the opening drive would definitely help with that. Terry Grant should have over one-hundred yards, and D.J. Hall should have a touchdown catch or two.
It's homecoming and the Crimson Tide need to put on a good showing in front of the home crowd. In the end I predict the Tide to roll once again 38-14 over Houston.
You can catch all the action Saturday at 2 p.m. only on Pay-Per-View or ESPN GamePlan.
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