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Alabama entered Saturday’s contest against Texas A&M with a sizable advantage, all but poised to come out of the noisy Kyle Field with a win.
The Aggies (4-2) had no such plan, however, upsetting the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide (5-1) by a final score of 41-38.
You might be asking yourself, what happened with the defense between last week against Ole Miss and now. The answer has a lot to do with general inconsistency. However, it does go much further than just that.
Since last year, Alabama loyalists have been wondering why defensive coordinator Pete Golding still has a position at the Capstone. The answer isn’t clear, but what needs to be done is clear: He has to go.
To expound, Golding has under-performed in all of his time as defensive coordinator for the Tide. This leads to many questions: Why is he still here? Is he even capable of improving? It remains to be seen, but the inconsistency has to be addressed.
Last week, Alabama held a high-octane offense in Ole Miss to just 21 points, many of those in garbage time well after the game was decided. On Saturday against a team in Texas A&M that’s missing several key pieces of their offense, they gave up 41 points.
Most of it was very bad play-calling. You can blame it on the injuries to Chris Harris and Drew Sanders, to an extent. Maybe even blame it a little on the early ejection of Malachi Moore. However, you can’t explain it all away with these outliers.
The schemes weren’t great, there were no disguises in coverage. Texas A&M QB Zach Calzada knew exactly what was lined up opposite of him on every single play. And this isn’t an experienced guy.
The defensive line provided little to no pressure on Calzada against an O-Line that’s missing a starter and only brought back one guy from last year.
At some point, the defense is going to have to force a turnover in must-have situations.
The defensive play-calling on the Aggies last drive was abysmal. When all you had to do was keep everything in front of you, Golding designed plays that seemed like they were meant to fail.
Saban had a few things to say, but none of them pertained to the performance of Golding.
“Hopefully we’ll learn a lot from this. We still can accomplish everything we want to accomplish in terms of — we got to do things better than we did tonight. We got to play better, we got to be more consistent. We got to finish drives. We got to get more turnovers on defense. We need to get more stops on defense. There’s a lot of things we need to fix.”
To answer the question in the headline, it doesn’t seem like Golding is capable of running an elite defense at the SEC-level. After two years, I haven’t seen anything to suggest otherwise. Maybe he has an unopened bag of tricks that we haven’t seen, yet, but I won’t hold my breath.
Winning out will be a huge challenge if the defense and it’s coordinator continue to perform like they did against Texas A&M.
Stay tuned to Roll Tide Wire for continued coverage of the Alabama Crimson Tide!