With the big game on Saturday between the USC Gamecocks and the Alabama Crimson Tide, we reached out to Bama Sports Report to do a “Q&A” session.
They are a fellow Bloguin blogger and hope you add it to your SEC sites to check out on a weekly basis as they do good work on the Bama sports program.
Here are my questions and their responses to help gain a understanding on the Tide v Cocks match-up –
1. From a Crimson Tide Fan’s perspective, what must be done to beat Alabama?
Well, here’s a scary one for you – I don’t know. I honestly think that for anyone to beat Alabama right now, it’s going to require forcing mistakes. Turnovers, penalties, blown coverages. That means you’re going to need Alabama’s help.
For starters, South Carolina must be able to run the ball. We’ll see if the Lattimore kid is all he’s cracked up to be – I fear he is. The real weakness of Alabama’s defense though is a relatively young secondary. If Garcia can capitalize and make some big plays, then the Gamecocks will have a puncher’s chance.
On defense, USC must find a way to make Greg McElroy beat them with his arm. He’s an excellent passer – so it’s not exactly the greatest option, but if you’re choosing your poison, you’d much rather gamble with McElroy’s arm than Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson’s legs.
2. Besides the running backs and Julio Jones, tell USC fans two players for the Tide that are crucial to success or keys to the team?
For starters, Greg McElroy. He will be forced to make some plays on Saturday, and for the Tide to be successful, he has to play mistake free football and take what Carolina gives him. That means he has to make throws when necessary, check to the right plays and generally execute the offense. He will be the key to the game.
On the other side of the ball, the Tide needs Marcel Dareus to play like he’s capable of playing. That means he needs to become fast friends with Garcia and force the QB to make plays quickly. If Dareus is healthy and plays like he’s shown he’s capable, he can make it very hard on a defense.
3. What makes the ‘Bama defense so good?
It all starts up front. The front 7 (or 6, depending on the formation) is big, fast, strong, and appears angry. They execute well, miss few tackles and generally disrupt the offense. They did a great job last week of masking the issues the Tide has in a young secondary.
Outside of Dareus, Courtney Upshaw and Dont’a Hightower are both beasts in the linebacking corps. They’re joined by true freshman phenom CJ Mosley who has been better than anyone could have imagined in the early going. He won’t start, but he’ll play a ton of downs.
Which leads us to the other strength for the Tide D – depth. You’ll probably see six or seven linebackers and the same number of defensive linemen on Saturday afternoon. The idea is to keep them fresh. And it seems like it’s working.
Finally, the Tide defense’s final strength – strength. There’s never been a more lauded strength and conditioning coach than Scott Cochran. He’s on the Jumbotron to start the fourth quarter. He did a flu vaccine commercial last winter. He was a nice chunk of the ESPN All Access specials.
He gets that attention for a reason. The players are in great shape (see the end of the Arkansas game), and he keeps them fired up. He’s a truly vital part of not only what makes the defense great, but what makes Bama go.
Thanks again to Bama Sports Report.