No. 1 Alabama was able to survive a second-half surge by the Florida Gators on Saturday, winning the contest 31-29.
Alabama jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the first quarter, but Florida outscored the Tide 26-10 over the last three-quarters of the game.
A lot can be taken from this game, here are five takeaways from today’s contest.
Alabama's interior defensive line needs to improve
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - DECEMBER 12: DJ Dale #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide recovers a fumble in the first half by Feleipe Franks #13 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on December 12, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
The Alabama defense gave up 245 yards rushing against the Gators on Saturday, something that Alabama is not accustomed to doing. Florida averaged 5.7 yards per carry on 43 attempts. The interior of the Alabama defensive line could not get any movement upfront which allowed the Gators to pile up the rushing yards and tighten the game up late. Guys like DJ Dale, Tim Smith, Byron Young, and Phidarian Mathis need to play better for this Alabama defense to be better against the run.
Alabama needs to establish a consistent running game
Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) runs with the ball against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
This isn't just on the running backs. It also isn't just on the offensive line. Alabama needs to find a way to be more consistent upfront on the line of scrimmage, and the backs also need to hit the hole with some conviction when the hole is there. I am not saying the running game needs to be exceptional, it just needs to be more consistent.
Bryce Young needs to be willing to use his legs
Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
All things considered Bryce Young has been fantastic for the Tide through the first three games of the season. Bryce has thrown for 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the young season. Let me give Bryce a slight critique. Bryce needs to better utilize his running ability to extend drives. There have been several opportunities for Bryce over the last three games to tuck the ball and take off running for either a first down or in today's case, a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Hopefully, offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien can coach Bryce to take what the defense gives him... even if that is scrambling for a first down.
The drops have to stop from the wide receivers
Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver John Metchie III (8) runs with the ball against the Florida Gators during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Alabama offense has been really inconsistent to start to the season. Some of that has to do with some of the drops that have come from John Metchie, Slade Bolden, and Jameson Williams. It's simple, to beat the great teams, you can't have dropped passes.
The team needs find their killer instinct
Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban before the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Maybe the most puzzling part about this team is its lack of killer instinct. Alabama jumped out on Miami to open the season but did not finish the game in Alabama fashion. In today's game, Alabama held a 21-3 lead after the first quarter, but could not manage to put the game away. If Alabama hopes to win a championship, they are going to have to find their killer instinct. Stay tuned to Roll Tide Wire for all the latest on the Crimson Tide! Contact/Follow us @RollTideWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Alabama news, notes and opinion. You can also follow Stacey Blackwood on Twitter @Blackwood89.