Yesterday, I put out an article grading the offensive side of the ball. Today, I will be focusing on defense, and while this defense struggled earlier in the year, they finally found their groove and became more of a “bend but don’t break” type of defense. Let’s take a look at the post-season grades on the defensive side of the ball.
The defensive line struggled early, then a guy named Christian Barmore emerged as a beast, and started reeking havoc in the backfield and opposing QB’s. This D-line will be missing Barmore next year, but Alabama will be getting LaBryan Ray, Justin Eboigbe, and DJ Dale back. Also, keep an eye out for Tim Smith next year. I think he’s gonna be our next Barmore.
This unit was led by Sophomore standout Christian Harris, and Freshman Will Anderson. Anderson proved he will be a nightmare for opponents for the next few years. Harris is becoming a leader on the field, and his play has been outstanding both his Freshman and Sophomore years. Dylan Moses battled the remnants of his ACL injury, and even said he played cautiously all year. I understand being cautious, but his play kept this unit from being ranked A+, but overall this unit will only get better.
This group was lead by Lockdown Defender Patrick Surtain Jr, Jordan Battle, and Josh Jobe, and saw the emergence of Freshman standouts Malachi Moore and Brian Branch. Surtain solidified himself as the best defensive back in the NCAA this year, and one thing I wanted to see before the season this year, is who would be the head hunter like Xavier McKinney was for us last year. I knew Battle had the potential to be that guy, and he proved it this year. Now, with Jobe, Battle, Moore, and Branch all returning, this is potentially on of the deepest Secondaries Saban has ever had at Alabama.
Pete Golding:DC- B
We all have differences of opinions here at Tide Talk, and everyone knows how I feel about Pete. After the Missouri game, I would’ve had him at an F, because the defense continued to look out of place, and confused on who they were supposed to cover. As the season progressed, (aside from the Ole Miss game) adjustments were made and the defense stepped up, pitching a 2nd half shut out of Georgia, only allowing 24 points to the #5 team in the land Texas A&M, only allowed 14 to Notre Dame, and 24 to a fresh Ohio State team. Give credit where it’s due, no, it’s not the typical Bama defense we are used to, but it’s not all bad either.
Nick Saban: Head Coach- A+++
Nothing needs to be said about arguably the G.O.A.T. that hasn’t already been said. One thing I will say though, he still looks like he has plenty of fire left in him, and that’s bad news for the rest of College Football. Roll Tide!
Jake Thomas is the Co-Founder and VPO of TideTalkSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jakethomastide.
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