Analysis of Alabama's first drive.
by Papa November
I'm going to do all their drives for the first half, but I thought I'd go ahead and put this up.
22:40 – 1st & 10 – Designed cutback zone left – gain of 1
I didn’t catch this when watching. This play starts as a simple inside zone right, but at the last second McCarron pivots and hands the ball on a designed cutback to the left. Everyone on defense does their job. No one gives ground and everyone is in good position. However, you can see the beginnings of what will hurt us later. Nix gets great push but is way upfield and simply gets turned away from the play. There is a lot of open space between defenders.
Good scheme. Good execution.
23:20 – 2 & 9 – Play Action Pass – gain of 30
Everyone bites on the play action, included the CB #2. His eyes are in the backfield and he’s caught flat-footed. The receiver quickly gets behind him and the Safety can’t make it over in time to defend the post-corner. If the ball actually had been handed off, we were in great position. Shembo spills the trap action and the LB flows across ready to make a play.
Good scheme. Poor execution by CB #2. Great call and execution by Bama.
24:00 – 1 & 10 – Inside zone left – gain of 11
Play side DE #89 gets off the ball well and begins to string the play out. He sheds his block to bite inside too soon, allowing a seam to the outside. But #17 had filled and was in a position to make a tackle for a 2yd gain. He missed badly. LB #5 fills quickly and gets walled, but he had no choice. He can’t scrape across the top and risk the cutback. Bama’s LG and LT do a great job sealing off flow from the backside.
Good sceme. Poor execution by S #17. Good, but not “dominating” blocks by Bama.
25:50 – 1 & 5 (offsides penalty) – Inside zone left – gain of 2
Defense shows a classic 4-3 look with the OLB #13 walked up on the line. The is the first time we’ve played one-gap defense. Bama tries the same zone they’ve run several times and it’s stuffed. Their line got zero push. DT #91 gets too far upfield coming from the back side, or he had a chance at a TFL. DE #7 owns the playside OT. OLB #13 does a great job taking on his block and keeping the play inside.
Great scheme. Great execution.
26:40 – 2 & 3 – Inside zone left w/ fake counter action – gain of 20, TD
This is simply a brilliant play design. It’s the exact same play they’ve run 4x. In fact, it’s the only running play they used on this drive. But they fake counter action back to the right with an H back. Te’o bites on the counter action, which delays him just long enough to prevent him from getting back in position to make a tackle. Te'o is supposed to have scrape to this gap on a run away from him, but technically, this is playside DE #55’s play to make. He starts lined up in a 5-tech, outside the OT. On the snap, he slants hard inside. When he does so, he meets the zone block of the LG. The rule in that scenario is to cross face to the inside. He fails to do that, bails on his slant technique, and gets walled outside. This puts playside LB #49 in an impossible spot. Because he’s expecting the DE to slant inside, he now has C gap responsibility. Indeed, he does his job and scrapes outside. But because DE #55 did not make it inside, we now have no A-gap defender. If DE #55 had done his job, the ball would have bounced to a waiting LB #49. Even then, if not for the counter fake, Te’o would have easily filled that gap and made the tackle.
Good scheme. Poor execution by DE #55. Great play design and execution by Bama.