VRS Opponent Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide
Lead by head coach Nick Saban, Alabama is yet again dominating the College Football world. Not only are the Tide undefeated; they have absolutely demolished every team on their schedule and are looking to do the exact same thing to Tennessee. Starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been shredding defenses all year for Alabama and with weapons like Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Henry Ruggs in the wide receiver unit it’s difficult to imagine Alabama not doing the same thing to UT.
Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who was also a major candidate for Tennessee’s OC vacancy during the offseason, will likely develop an offensive game plan to knock Tennessee out of the game early so they can get some more experience for their younger players. In other words, it’s probably safe to say Alabama is not taking Tennessee as a legitimate opponent and while sometimes that plays right into the hands of the inferior team, it will likely not be the case in this matchup as Alabama is simply too talented right now.
In addition to Alabama’s passing game, it’s important to mention their running game. With Tennessee’s struggles at the defensive line, it would not surprise many at all to see Sarkisian try to pound the ball right at Tennessee all day on the ground. If that’s the case, and Tennessee can’t stop them, there is literally no slimmer of hope for an upset. The Vols must somewhat contain Alabama’s running game to a point in which they are forced to throw the football.
On defense, Alabama seems somewhat vulnerable, but it’s still Alabama. While their defense isn’t as good as it has been in past years they still easily have one of the best in the nation and will be able to shut down a Tennessee offense that could include a freshman quarterback. Alabama’s defensive game plan will be simple, don’t allow Tennessee to have any big play that could possibly result in a shift in the momentum of the game. Alabama is the bigger, faster, more talented team and it’s not even close; they should not risk giving Tennessee a big momentum-shifting play when they can simply dominate Tennessee by pure talent.
As for the analysis of this information, it’s also quite simple; Alabama should beat Tennessee by at least 3 or 4 touchdowns. Tennessee’s defensive line is not capable of stopping Alabama’s run game or pressuring Tua enough to stop their game through the air. Right now Alabama is simply a better team than Tennessee and as a result, you should expect a non-competitive game in Tuscaloosa. Following the game against Alabama, the key for Tennessee will be to quickly put the game behind them and move on to South Carolina where they will need to get the victory to help achieve their hopes and aspirations of a bowl game.
Luke A. Thomas
Luke was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and grew up with a passion for SEC Football.
His career in journalism started in 2016 when he covered his hometown MTSU Blue Raiders. He would later go on to cover the local Vanderbilt Commodores before he would begin covering the Volunteers. He wrote for SBNation, covering UT Athletics before joining Volunteer Roadshow in May of 2019. At Volunteer Roadshow he covers all things Tennessee, with a focus on UT Football and Basketball.