What we learned from Alabama’s victory over Mercer

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It wasn’t pretty, to say the least, but Alabama was able to get out of Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday with a victory, by defeating the Mercer Bears 48-14.

Nick Saban tried to warn us earlier this week when he mentioned the intensity at practice was not where it needed to be.

In the postgame, Saban mentioned that the team needs to “shake themselves or they will get shook” next week by a more talented team in the Florida Gators.

Let’s take a look at some of the things we learned this week.

Nick Saban was right, as usual.

Sep 11, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Nick Saban mentioned several times throughout the week that the team had not practiced to the standard that is expected. Each time Alabama faces an FCS opponent this seems to be the issue. Coach Saban is also right when he says that if the team doesn't wake up, they will get beat.

The offense needs to get better around Bryce Young

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws under pressure from Mercer linebacker Isaac Dowling (3) Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Bryant-Denny Stadium. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Alabama Vs Mercer

This isn't to say that Bryce is without fault. Bryce has plenty to work on, but the offensive line needs to be better in pass protection, the running backs need to be better overall, and the wide receivers need to create more separation from defenders and cut down on the drops. Alabama's offense is nowhere near a finished product, but with the SEC portion of the schedule looming, consistency will have to improve.

JoJo Earle is a playmaker

Mercer defensive back Lance Wise (0) makes a tackle on Alabama wide receiver JoJo Earle (10) Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Bryant-Denny Stadium. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Alabama Vs Mercer

Alabama fans have heard whispers about the freshman wideout from Texas. Earle is built similar to former Tide standout Jaylen Waddle and also displays similar abilities on the field. Earle caught seven passes for 85 yards. He also added 56 more yards on punt returns. I expect Earle to become more a focal point of the Alabama offense moving forward.

Kool-Aid flashed his potential

Alabama linebacker Henry To'o To'o (10) and Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) celebrate McKinstry's interception Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Bryant-Denny Stadium. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Alabama Vs Mercer

Freshman defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry got the first start of his young on Saturday and flashed some of his potential as a corner for the Tide. In the first half, Kool-Aid was able to intercept a tipped pass, but throughout the game showed that he was more than willing to play physically against the run. Late in the second half, Kool-Aid was the closest defender on a touchdown reception by the Mercer Bears, but after looking more closely at the play, Kool-Aid thought he had help over the top in safety Daniel Wright. Kool-Aid has a lot to learn to become a permanent starter for the Tide, but I believe he is well on his way.

FCS opponents need to be a thing of the past

Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) cuts back as he runs the ball with Mercer cornerback TJ Moore (25) pursuing Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Bryant-Denny Stadium. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Alabama Vs Mercer

There isn't much that needs to be added to this, so I will keep it simple. Sure, Mercer and other FCS teams need these types of games to help keep their programs afloat, but it is time for Alabama and others to completely move on. Alabama gains absolutely nothing from playing these types of games. It is a lose-lose situation for the Tide. It is time to end these senseless contests. 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.

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