Analysis of Alabama's third drive.
by Papa November
49:10 – 1 & 10 – zone right – gain of 7
We come out in a base 4-3 look with LB #13 walked up on the line. This is a look we had used previously to shut down the zone run effectively. This is a true zone right, not the designed cutback play we saw earlier. However, because the NG destroys the center, the RB has no choice but to cut it back. When he does, backside DE #55 is put on an island. Bama has motioned an H back that side, and you can see he does try to cut #55 off, believing the play will go right. #55 does a good job of holding the line while posting up the H back and staying in his gap, as he should. He even gets of the block and back outside when he realizes that’s where the ball is going, but it’s too late. The RB easily breaks contain. In addition, S #17 takes a horrible angle and is very late coming up. This is a tough play for him, but it is his to make. He has that backside lane.
Good scheme. Poor execution by S #17.
49:45 – 2 & 3 – Play Action pass – gain on lots
Tough to see what’s going on in the secondary. But it’s obviously another well-designed play action pass that confuses everyone. Tough to blame this in anyone in particular, especially after Bama had moved the ball so well on the ground. But CB #2 does lose track of his man on an out route.
50:38 – 1 & 10 – Play Action pass – gain of 12
Great call going to this on first down. We are in the base 4-3 we’ve shown previously. Again, the play action causes confusion and delays with the LBs. I can’t tell from this film, but it almost looks like we’re playing cover 4. All 4 DB’s bail immediately and pay no attention to the play action. If this is true, then LB #49 should have passed the TE on the seam off to the Safety and covered the man moving into the flat. Another one that’s tough to blame on an individual because it is a perfect route to run against cover 4. LB’s are used to attaching to TE’s when they release, and it would take a great athlete to pass him off, read the flat, and get out there in time to make a play on the ball. But technically, that is #46’s man.
P.S. The last two plays, #9 has been hustling his ass off. Getting him back is huge.
51:20 – 1 & 10 – zone left - loss of 2
We dominate across the line. #9 destroys the center, and DT’s #7 and #91 both beat their men and are in position to make a play.
Good scheme. Great execution.
52:00 – 2 & 12 – counter left – gain of 6
Backside DE #7 does a decent job, but could have squeezed a bit more when the OT pulled. NG #9 makes a great play to get a hand on the RB. He was aligned in a 1-tech, so he did not have responsibility for that backside A gap. But he exerts enough control over the C to hold him off and get back in the play. Playside DT #91 gets blown off the ball on the double team from the playside G and T. Not only does this create space, it also makes it very difficult for LBs #44 and #5 to make a play because #91 is in their lap. Playside DE #55 does a decent job of taking on the pulling lineman. This is another good example of what Alabama’s powerful OL can create. Their “dominance” is picking up 4 yards, not the long touchdown runs.
Good scheme – poor execution by DT #91
52:45 – 3 & 6 – drop back pass – big gain
Again, tough to see what’s happening in the secondary, but this looks like another post-corner against cover 2. We get a little bit of pressure, but the QB makes the right read and delivers on time. They obviously scouted us well and had a great game plan. There’s nothing miraculous or dominating about this play. It’s just great coaching and great execution. And on our side, it was time to mix in some cover 3 after Bama kept running this same route with success. I’ll have to keep watching to see if we ever do. Another chance to get off the field on 3rd down that we missed.
53:35 – 1 & goal – Iso left – gain of 5
Bear front again. A decent compromise when not wanting to commit to a goal line look. We also have the S #17 walked up in a LB position. Unfortunately, this one is one him again. We have a 0-nose and 3-tech to the playside, along with LB #48 lined up with A-gap responsibility. When the playside OT blocks down on the 3-tech to that side, the proper read is for S #17 to fill right outside the OT. Instead, he runs right into the A-gap, where already have three players, and allows the OT to block both him and the 3-tech. We had the perfect defense, They shouldn’t have gained a yard.
Great scheme. Poor execution by #17.
55:40 – 2 & goal – Iso right – TD
We are in goal line alignment, which covers every gap except the playside B gap. Bama, shockingly, runs it to the playside B gap. They have a lineman #54 lined up at FB, and he is the lead blocker. LB #5 does a poor job taking on this block. There is no finesse on the GL. This block has to be taken head on. Instead, #5 takes it on with his outside shoulder, falling harmlessly off to the inside. This allows the lead blocker to get a second block on LB #44, whom he pancakes. This play was really the only run call to make against the alignment of our D. This is the classic “our guys our tougher than your guys” call. They were right on this play. I have sympathy for our D, because they’d been out there the entire 1st quarter. But we needed our best defender to step up and make a big hit.
Good scheme. Poor execution by LB #5.