Alabama defense looks far from infallible

Kayla Montgomery

Sometimes – rarely – these preseason hypotheses may play out as expected, but more often than not, that speculation was wrong. SEC East favorite South Carolina was routed at home by Texas A&M, a team that was completely dismissed with the absence of Johnny Football. Florida State scraped by a young, unproven and unranked Oklahoma State. Tennessee looked like a football team.

On the Alabama front, heralded Florida State quarterback transfer Jake Coker, who many dubbed the key component in Alabama’s quest for another championship, saw little field time, entering the game for only the final series of the matchup against West Virginia, a team that won only four games last season. The Crimson Tide, who many picked as a top-contender for the title trophy, simply did not look like a 
champion ship team. The SEC West was made to look even stronger, while Alabama left preseason-questions unanswered on the field.

Yes, the offense functioned solidly, perhaps better than could even be expected with a new quarterback in Blake Sims under center, and Alabama clearly has improved the kicking game, although kick coverage may still need some work – the kick return for a touchdown gave Alabama fans across the country heart palpitations – and the running backs and receivers performed well.

The defense, however, did not quite live up to the standards of Alabama football. Throughout the offseason, the Crimson Tide secondary has been an area of concern, and this game illustrated that it still is. The defense showed that its kryptonite is still the up-tempo, spread offenses, which gave the team much trouble last season. The Alabama defense, typically strong-arming and dominating, looked far from infallible

The Mountaineers wracked up 365 passing yards, the third-most ever allowed under Nick Saban’s tenure, and it was also the first time that Alabama has allowed back-to-back 300-yard passing games under Saban as coach. Though Alabama emerged with a win, West Virginia again put the Crimson Tide’s weaknesses on display, until we finally found our footing in a dominating 
fourth quarter.

Alabama still has the ability to be a title contender, and they are more than capable of living up to the speculation that surrounded them throughout the preseason. But first the defense has to improve for more than just the fourth quarter.