Alabama Preview

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Alabama Preview

When you recruit the way Nick Saban and Alabama have recruited through the years, it is easy to see NFL talent at every position for the Crimson Tide.

Bama averages 34.36 points per game which ranks 32nd in the country. They average 423 yards a game on offense which is 51st in the country. Their 219 passing yards per game is 68th in the nation. Bama averages 204 yards per game on the ground which is 29th in the nation.

Quarterback Jake Coker has completed 247-of-368 passes for 2,775 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His arm was a big part of the Tide's 38-0 win over Michigan State.

Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry has 359 carries for 2,061 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns. He is a workhorse back that pounds defenses between the tackles. Henry is excellent in short yardage and goal line situations.

Calvin Ridley is a freshman sensation who has 83 receptions for 1,031 yards and seven touchdowns. ArDarius Stewart has 61 receptions for 637 yards and four scores. O.J. Howard is one of the nation's top tight ends. He has 33 receptions for 394 yards.

Alabama's strength is in its strength. Bama is known for its front seven on defense and a power running game behind a terrific offensive line.

The offensive line is led by All-American center Ryan Kelly and All-SEC tackle Cam Robinson. It was this offensive line that opened the holes and paved the way for Henry to bring home another Heisman.

The front seven is the key to Kirby Smart's nationally ranked defense. All-Americans in defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson and linebacker Reggie Ragland lead an impressive front seven. Other stars include All-SEC defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Jarran Reed and All-SEC safety Eddie Jackson.

Defensively Alabama shut down the Spartans. Michigan State had 239 total yards with only 29 coming on the ground. What we saw Thursday is what a lot of teams have seen. This is a big, physical defense that is very difficult to prepare for.

Bama has a reputation for huge plays on defense and special teams and has turned close games around or into blowouts with big punt returns, kickoff returns, and defensive scores. They have four punt returns for touchdowns; one blocked punt for a score and four pick sixes this season.

In the Cotton Bowl, Michigan State jammed the box to stop Henry and held Bama to 154 yards on the ground. Henry was held to 75 yards on 20 carries. The issue then became the play-action passing game where the Crimson Tide passed for 286 yards. Ridley had eight catches for 138 yards and two scores. Therefore, the play-action passing game should be a huge part of Bama's game plan.

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