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Coming off an unpleasant evening in School Station, Alabama’s about to see an offense not like any it’ll face this season.
A 12 months after shutting out Mike Leach’s first Mississippi State staff, 41-0, the Bulldogs are discovering the rhythm of his pass-happy offense coming off a bye weekend.
The place the Crimson Tide have a stability between runs and passes, Mississippi State is the other. That creates points with conserving contemporary defensive lineman on the sphere for a recreation that figures to see extra passes than this staff’s seen in years.
The Bulldogs (3-2) common 57 passes thrown a recreation whereas Alabama defenses have seen 27 on common and not more than Miami’s 32. Solely two Alabama opponents previously decade have greater than 50 passing makes an attempt when each South Carolina in 2019 and Clemson within the 2016 nationwide title recreation had 57 every.
The final three MSU video games included 67, 62 and 59 passes, respectively. By way of speeding, it’s final nationally in speeding yards per recreation (56.2) and speeding makes an attempt (93).
“You have to change the way you think,” Nick Saban stated. “The old fashioned, gotta stop the run on regular downs and play the passes. You’ve gotta kind of change to, we’ve got to stop the runs but we’ve got to play really good pass defense on every downs because a lot of their passes are control game, get the ball out quick, short, gain five, seven, catch and runs so you’ve got to break on the ball and tackle well. It’s a little different mindset that your team has to have and your signal caller.”
That makes the power to rotate lineman and edge cross rushers much more vital,
“You’ve got to rush three guys sometimes, you’ve got rush four guys sometimes, you’ve got to rush five guys sometimes,” Saban stated. “I think you’ve got to mix it up and try to disguise what you’re doing but there’s no question about the fact that it’s more taxing for a defensive lineman to play against a passing play and exert the kind of effort that you have to as opposed to what you may have to do on a running play.”
The character of the passes thrown provides to the equation. These are largely fast strikes, not a lot pocket time — simply take the snap, flip and fireplace.
The cross rush numbers communicate to that. Regardless of throwing the fourth most passes nationally (284), Mississippi State has been sacked simply 10 instances. The two.0 sacks allowed per recreation is No. 62.
“It’s a space game, I also think that the defensive lineman have to run more on a lot of their perimeter and short passes because that’s the kind of game it is,” Saban stated. “Sometimes when they throw it, it’s nothing more than a quick pitch and everybody needs to be rallying and leveraging the ball.”
Alabama is coming off an evening wherein Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada wasn’t sacked, nor was the Tide credited with a quarterback hurry. Influencing Bulldog passer Will Rogers isn’t an choice, Alabama defensive lineman DJ Dale stated.
“And if we can’t do that,” he stated, “it can be a long day for us as a defense.”
Alabama acquired to each Mississippi State quarterbacks final season. Will Rogers, the 2021 starter, changed Ok.J. Costello after he left after taking a knee to the pinnacle. The 2 passers mixed to throw 48 passes, had been sacked twice with eight different QB hurries recorded.
The 48 makes an attempt had been the fifth fewest for Mississippi State as Alabama held the guests to its second-fewest passing yards, 163.
Getting these excessive passing try numbers requires offensive momentum and the Bulldogs went 5 possessions with out a first all the way down to open the sport.
Saban stated he sees Mississippi State has discovered extra of a groove below Leach’s offense now that they’ve had a 12 months to course of the scheme and recruit for it.
The Bulldogs are coming off an open week and a 26-22 win at Texas A&M when Rogers threw for 408 yards on 46 for 59 passing (78%) and the primary turnover-free recreation of the season.
Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Comply with him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on Fb.
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