Alabama players, coaches, and fans are well aware of what the outcome was last season against Texas A&M. It was one of the worst-played games since Nick Saban became the coach at Alabama. As a result, the Crimson Tide have had to wait a year to avenge their loss to the Aggies.
It has created a lot of friction between the programs. After Saban stated his strong opinion on the state of college football in the name, image, likeness (NIL) era, especially the Aggies football recruiting philosophies, Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher responded by calling him a narcissist.
It hasn’t sat well with the Alabama faithful. However, the time has now come for Alabama to settle the feud on the gridiron. On Saturday, the Crimson Tide will host the Aggies for a highly anticipated Week 6 matchup..
Roll Tide Wire will take a look at some of the areas of concern ahead of their matchup against the Texas A&M Aggies.
Limiting Devon Achane
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Achane has been the center of the Aggies offense ever since wide receiver Ainias Smith suffered a season-ending injury against Arkansas. Thus far, Alabama’s defense hasn’t seen a player as dynamic as Achane. It will be something to keep an eye on throughout the course of the game.
Transitioning quarterback preparation
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It may not be that big of a deal to many, but Alabama’s defensive staff will be tasked with preparing for quarterback Haynes King to start the game. Originally, it was expected that quarterback Max Johnson would be available to play in some capacity. However, he was reported to have a broken bone in his throwing hand. As a result, King will be taking the snaps and has some starting experience. It will be interesting to see how the defense responds to a shift in preparation this late in the week.
Special teams miscues
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Last week, the Alabama special teams unit had several woes. A bad snap from long-snapper Kneeland Hibbett and a blunder on the return team almost allowed Arkansas to get back into the game. The Crimson Tide will have to clean up these issues and be more prepared ahead of their matchup with Texas A&M.
Limiting chunk plays
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Alabama has had a tough time in the past winning ball games when they allow multiple chunk plays. This weekend will be crucial for the defense to prevent chunk plays. The Aggies have a good core of wide receivers in Moose Muhammad III, Evan Stewart, and Chris Marshall. Each of the three has shown glimpses of being able to stretch the field. Alabama’s secondary will certainly have to be up to the challenge.
Protecting the quarterback
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Regardless of whether the quarterback is Jalen Milroe or Bryce Young, it will be crucial for the offensive line to protect the passer. The Aggies have played well on the defensive side of the ball. This game will likely be decided in the trenches, so it will be key for the line to be stout up front.