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Kentucky’s Offense Presents New Challenge to Alabama’s Defense

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UK Athletics

The top-ranked Crimson Tide have not seen a team like Kentucky in 2020. The Wildcats’ offense and a COVID-19 scheduling adjustment have put Nick Saban on high alert.

“I think Mark Stoops has done a really good job at Kentucky,” Saban said Monday afternoon. “They’ve got a good team. They have 15 starters coming back from last year’s team. They’re, I think, first in pass defense in the SEC. They’re second in rushing. They run the ball very effectively. They got really good running backs. Their quarterbacks are very athletic and can run. They create a lot of quarterback run issues for you. No. 6 (Josh) Ali is a really good receiver, very good return man as well. They have really good specialists.

“So all around this is a really good team. They’ve been in every game this year, and they could have won a couple of more just as easily as not. So this is a team that’s a little different in terms of what we’ve seen in the past. We’ve got to be able to stop the run and be able to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball because that’s going to be a real key to the game.”

You heard him right, folks. Nick Saban is scared of Kentucky’s offense.

All joking and poking the bear aside, Alabama’s defense is not the usual Alabama defense. The Crimson Tide rank eighth in the SEC in pass defense, fifth in total defense and fourth in rush defense. If you prefer analytics, ESPN’s SP+ ranks Alabama’s defense 12th nationally in efficiency. It’s good, but not up to the typically elite standard.

The Crimson Tide are also inexperienced against an attack that heavily features designed quarterback runs. Kellen Mond only rushed it eight times and most of the 40 yards Matt Corral picked up on the ground were the result of scrambles. Kentucky will travel to Tuscaloosa a week after one of its most successful days using designed quarterback runs all season.

“I think when the quarterback can run, it makes it like Wildcat. There’s always an extra gap because you don’t really account for the quarterback in most basic things that you do on defense. They do a good job with formations. They make you make a lot of adjustments and you gotta stay gap sound in everything you do and you gotta have enough guys in the box to account for the quarterback,” Saban said.

“I don’t think we’ve played anyone this year that the quarterback actually does, or has as many quarterback runs as these guys are capable of. Some of it is as simple pulling the ball in the zone read, which you gotta be very disciplined. Whoever’s got the quarterback has to stay on the quarterback. This is a game with requires a lot of discipline from all the players. Everybody’s got to do their job. It’s a little bit like when you play option football. Somebody’s got the dive. Somebody’s got the pitch. Even though they’re not really an option team, the same principles are involved in terms of how you stop their runs, quarterbacks runs, RPOs and their passing game.”

On top of the new QB run challenge, Alabama is in a scenario Saban’s never experienced before in his coaching career. The postponed LSU game forced the Crimson Tide to sit on the sideline for two consecutive Saturdays. They may be fresh physically, but could be rusty mentally.

“We were ready to play. I think the players want to play,” Saban said.

“If we were in a regular season this would’ve been the 11th game of the season. We practiced as much as if we were in the 11th week of the season, so I think physically we’ve been able to take care of our players. I think psychologically it’s a real challenge for them to stay focused on the things they need to do to continue to improve and play at a high level, especially when we’re basically halfway through the season.”

If Alabama loses their focus and Terry Wilson has a career day, Kentucky could play in the 3.3% at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

14 Comments for Kentucky’s Offense Presents New Challenge to Alabama’s Defense

  1. BigBluSoTru
    5:19 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Nick i totally agree Uk can win this . i stated this in Freddies post and the non FB idiots call me a troll and laughed . I told them this Uk offense was unleashed just for Bama And Saban said it in his own words he is scared and hasnt seen anything like this. Cats in a close one.

  2. Rick_S
    5:59 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Stop ….we have a 3% chance to win..Id say more like 0.01% chance..42-10 Bama

  3. LexWildcatFan15
    6:07 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    LOLOLOL “presents new challenge” ??? i.e. Alabama defensive players haven’t seen an offense this inept since Middle School so they’re not sure what to do and start over thinking it.

  4. clarks
    6:12 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Everyone can holler cause the vandy game was close score but was never in doubt and we got some young guys some valuable experience. We always tend to play up in these kind of games so I look for us to cover big but its 30 point spread lol. Just like Georgia game, I think they will be able to walk out proud on a loss.

  5. Section233
    6:23 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink


  6. blueballs80
    6:44 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Saban is just being nice and doing his coach speak. He knows we are not a threat because we can’t consistently pass.

  7. BigBluSoTru
    6:59 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Okay for all you naysayers when the GP come down saturday dont take credit for the big win. I’ll be at kroger field ready to see history being made . I’m tearing up as i write this i would never have thought i see the day Saban is scared too play us. BBN we have truly arrived.

  8. Realme
    7:13 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Anyone who thinks the confident, capable versions of Wilson, Gran, and Hinshaw will show up against a power house hasn’t been paying attention.

  9. Southky
    8:19 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    Rousch, did you write this piece with a straight face??

  10. Pensacola_Cat_Fan
    10:27 pm November 17, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t think Alabama stands a chance. We clearly proved we were a juggernaut against Vandy.

  11. ukflyguy
    8:45 am November 18, 2020 Permalink

    If Drennen, Epps, and Cummings are playing at WR we got a chance because they are a downfield threat and it will cause the Alabama safeties and corners to back off the line of scrimmage. If its Dailey and Harris Alabama will bring its safeties in the box and stuff our running game and UK gets killed by 50. As good as the Big Blue Wall is they can’t block 5 on 8 or 9 against a good team like Alabama…

  12. Bluemister
    12:01 pm November 19, 2020 Permalink

    Wait a minute. Nick Saban said Josh Ali is a great return man? Has he returned one all year. Yes, he’s our best receiver. But…”come on man!”