Three key points from Alabama's 59-0 win over Texas A&M Saturday, and three more to look for Saturday as Alabama takes on Tennessee in Knoxville:
Alabama 59, Texas A&M 0
1) After the Crimson Tide offensive line drew significant criticism for its performance against Arkansas, including its share from Crimson Cover (see home page video), the interior front blocked exceptionally well against the Aggies. Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry found wide open running lanes between the tackles. Left guard Arie Kouandjio, in particular, played his best game of the year. Even better going forward, UA now gets starting center Ryan Kelly back from injury to start a two-game road stretch at Tennessee and LSU.
2) Defensively, Reggie Ragland capped a fabulous game with a spectacular interception on a play that, by all rights, would have been no more than a pass deflection under normal circumstances. Senior Trey DePriest played an outstanding game also. As well as Rueben Foster played on the kickoff team and as ready as he might be for more action on defense, Ragland and DePriest are developing into too good a duo at inside linebacker to disrupt at this point.
3) Alabama's pass rush, maligned itself for a good bit of the season, now has 19 sacks on the year after picking up six against TAMU. While there might not be a superstar pass rusher on the roster, there is no shortage of depth among players who are at least capable of getting pressure. UA has gotten sack contributions from 12 different players. Oddly enough, last year's sack leader, A'Shawn Robinson, is still looking for his first.
Alabama at Tennessee
1) If Butch Jones' staff pays attention to Alabama's last four game films, Amari Cooper can expect to see plenty of double double coverage in Knoxville. Ole Miss and Arkansas doubled Cooper and played well enough against the run to hold Alabama's offense in check. Florida and Texas A&M played Cooper with more single man coverage, and paid a dear price for it. If UT doubles Cooper, Alabama must make the Volunteers pay for it with the running game.
2) As complete a win as Alabama had against Texas A&M, it's still in search of a complete win on the road. In two SEC home games, Alabama has scored 101 points. In two on the road, it has scored just 31. The Tennessee game represents a chance for Alabama to gain some much-needed confidence away from the friendly turf at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
3) Word on the battle between cornerbacks Tony Brown and Eddie Jackson is that the competition is still running hot, even after the Texas A&M game. Jackson got the start, but Brown started the second half. If Brown emerges as the starter against Tennessee, you'll know the back-and-forth between the two in practice has been spirited.