Friday, October 11, 2019

Bama faces a bit of a test on the road

After a week off, Alabama takes a rested team into Kyle Field, taking on the Texas A&M Aggies in CBS' Game of the Week. If this game is still competitive at halftime, the Tide could be in for its first real challenge.

Last season in Tuscaloosa, the Aggies' QB Kellen Mond rolled up almost 300 yards of offense and A&M scored 23 points. Mond has shown bursts of greatness so far in 2019 amid long stretches of ho-hum. At home and with almost half of the season under his belt, he faces a defense with questions at right defensive end and an inside linebacking corps that's still finding itself. Coach Jimbo Fisher is a well-respected offensive mind and we can expect him to probe Saban's 3-4 Over/Under scheme for weaknesses. We shouldn't be surprised if A&M puts 20 or more on the board again.

As we explored in this space just before the Ole Miss game, Alabama's offense is changing in a potentially profound way. What we didn't know then was that Center Chris Owens is nursing a leg injury that will surely keep him out, causing a shift that gets Deonte 'Cornbread' Brown a lot of time at guard or tackle. Deonte is a true difference maker in the running attack and his continued improvement and enmeshment into the offensive line rotation is a key to building the balanced attack Alabama will need later in the season. A respectable runnung game is important to keeping the ferocious defenses of LSU, Auburn and maybe Georgia and Clemson out of QB Tua Tagovailoa's face.

We also know that Tua is nearly perfect now with 1,700+ passing yards, 23 TD's, 0 INT's and an eye-popping 76% completion rate. We further know that Alabama has an NFL-caliber receiving corps and Tua's newest ability to check through receivers after the snap has them at the top of college football.

This game shouldn't be competitive at halftime. But if it is, and Kyle Field's legendary 12th Man comes roarin' out later in the game, we might just see what the 2019 installment of the Crimson Tide is really made of.


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