Alabama May Be Vulnerable, But The Crimson Tide is Still On Top
Alabama Crimson Tide fans may not be used to the fashion their team secured a victory Saturday afternoon, but as they say, "a win is a win."
The Crimson Tide wasn't as crisp, as disciplined, as dominant as its fans are accustomed to.
In the first quarter, Alabama posted 172 yards of offense while Bryce Young scored three passing touchdowns. For the remainder of the game, Alabama posted just 152 yards of offense and Young didn't see the endzone again.
Defensively, the Tide shut out the Gators on the scoreboard, forced a turnover and allowed just 81 total yards. The remainder of the game saw Dan Mullen's offense march the field at least 75 yards for touchdowns on four occasions and failed to force another turnover.
If Nick Saban wanted sustained consistency in performance Monday, he didn't get it Saturday.
"We have to be able to maintain intensity throughout a game," Saban said. "I think our players showed a lot of resiliency in the game. We made the plays we had to make."
Alabama committed a season-high 11 penalties for 75 yards. That brings the season total to 28 through three games.
What have we learned, then, about the 2021 Crimson TIde after its journey through The Swamp?
This team is excellent but vulnerable. It's a national championship contender, but it won't cruise through the schedule.
In short, it's a process.
Saban has plenty to teach his team.
"I think there's a lot to learn," Saban said postgame. "I'm hopeful that our team can learn from this experience; learn how to improve, how to get better. Where you are personally as a player, where we are collectively as a team, what we need to do to get better individually, improve and play with more consistency and maintain intensity, as well as with the team."
And something to teach the fanbase.
External factors play a role in every game, and how they are handled can determine the outcome.
The defense began to fall off when the offense went three-and-out on three straight possessions. The offense played poorly when the crowd at Ben Hill-Griffin Stadium impacted the execution of the play calls.
While the game may have appeared ugly after a year of nearly perfect dominance, this game showed the determination of the 2021 Crimson Tide. The Swamp was loud. Dan Mullen made halftime adjustments that turned the football game on its head. Alabama was sloppy.
But, the Crimson Tide won.
Even if it's ugly, that's the goal.
So don't call for the head of Pete Golding. His defense did its job in clutch moments throughout the game. Be frustrated that Mullen called a great game.
Don't call for Bill O'Brien either. Todd Grantham's defensive front played extremely well all game. That doesn't mean Alabama's offensive line is bad, it gave up just one sack and rushed for 100 yards.
Alabama shouldn't panic, the team nor the fanbase. Nor should they relax.
Winning isn't supposed to be easy, no matter how often Saban's teams through the years make it look. Each season is a new team with different levels of adversity to face.
This team just cleared one of its most important hurdles. Take pride in that Crimson Tide fans.