3 Takeaways From Alabama’s Victory Over Florida State
The most anticipated game going into this college football season-opening weekend between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida State Seminoles did not turn out to be a thriller like many expected it to be.
After a competitive 10-7 Alabama lead going into halftime, the Seminoles came out flat to begin the second half and let the Crimson Tide run away with a 24-7 victory in Atlanta.
Although the Crimson Tide had slow start on both sides of the football, their second half rally gave them their first win of the 2017 season.
Here are three takeaways from the Crimson Tide's season-opening victory against the Seminoles.
Running the football and using all their talent in the backfield
With so much talent in the Crimson Tide backfield, their was no question that running the football was going to be one of the priorities on offense this season. Although offensive coordinator Brian Daboll went away from running the football at certain points of the game, the team as a whole had 42 carries for 173 yards while averaging 4.1 yards per attempt.
Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarbrough had 30 of the 42 carries for a combined 95 yards. Even freshman Najee Harris got some quality playing time with the injury to Josh Jacobs, Harris had 3 carries for only 5 yards.
The other Harris on the other hand showed that he could be the main back carrying the ball for the Crimson Tide this season. Damien Harris made the most of his 9 attempts rushing for 73 yards and also caught a pass for 11 yards. Harris ability to shake defenders has home run rushing qualities and if you mix that with the power of Scarbrough, this running game could be a thing of beauty.
Hurts ability to run the ball is a breath of fresh air for an offensive line unit that seems to be struggling to mesh together to protect the quarterback. Most of Hurts rushes were him escaping the pocket. Hurts was close to 1,000 rushing yards last season, but with the talent Alabama has in the back field, he should focus more on attempting to stay in the pocket and getting the ball to his receivers. If they can limit the amount of times Hurts runs the ball and give that load to Harris and Scarbrough, this Crimson Tide rushing attack can be dangerous this season.
Converting and play calling on third downs is still an issue
One issue last season was the play-calling especially during third downs. Even though the Fire Brian Daboll tweets are a little premature, the play-calling on third downs and failure to convert on those downs were very questionable.
The Crimson Tide were 3-16 on third downs, however they did convert two fourth down conversions. The offense went 3 and out four times in the game. Credit to the Seminoles defense to forcing the Crimson Tide to long conversions on third, and a couple of holding penalties didn't help the Tide's cause, but in a game of yardage those third downs could be very important down the line.
With the Crimson Tide's defense giving the offense great field position throughout the game, the score could have been much higher than 24. Extending drives and keeping their defense fresh and off the field could be critical moving forward in the season.
The defense doesn't show any drop off from a turnover standpoint
A lot of the success Alabama had last season was credited to their play on defense and the ablilty to force turnovers.
With at the time a freshman quarterback under center, and an offense trying to find their identity, the best scoring defense in college football helped the Crimson Tide reach a national championship game last season.
Some of that talent isn't on this roster anymore, but that didn't stop this unit to duplicate last season's team. Although the defensive unit didn't get the scoring touchdowns last season's team was so familiar with, the defense changed the momentum of the game forcing three turnovers and startled the Seminoles offense who had much of the momentum in the first half.
Levi Wallace and Mack Wilson both intercepted passes from Deondre Francois and Dylan Moses forced a fumble on the Florida State 11 yard line on a kickoff.
It's going to be hard to top what that defense did last season, but with some much talent on this side of the football, they could possibly come close. Only allowing 7 points and 40 yards rushing to the #3 team in the country is a good start to the season.