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Areas of concern ahead of Alabama’s Week 8 matchup against Mississippi State

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Areas of concern ahead of Alabama’s Week 8 matchup against Mississippi State

Alabama has had to address different concerns from week to week this season. Several areas have seen improvements while others still need to be addressed. Through seven weeks, the biggest concerns have been penalties, special teams, and the secondary.

The Crimson Tide have been hurt more by costly mistakes than by the opposing teams. This is the most penalized team that has been at Alabama since Nick Saban became the head coach in 2007.

These are issues that can be fixed, but they have not been up to this point. Today, Roll Tide Wire takes a look at some of Alabama’s areas of concern heading into their Week 8 matchup against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Putting pressure on Will Rogers

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the Crimson Tide pass rush was effectively getting to Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers. Alabama ended the game with seven total sacks. Yes, seven. However, the defensive front has struggled this season to consistently put pressure on opposing teams’ quarterbacks.

Secondary

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama had shown signs of improvement leading into their Week 7 matchup against Tennessee. However, it didn’t translate against a high-potent offense run by the likes of Josh Heupel and quarterback Hendon Hooker. The Crimson Tide allowed Hooker to throw for 385 yards and five touchdowns. The worst part about it is that the five touchdowns were thrown to the same wide receiver: Jalin Hyatt. One thing is for certain and that is the secondary should be concerned against a pass-heavy offense led by Mike Leach.

Special teams

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

There is lingering concern over the special team’s units. Kicker Will Reichard has made 3 of the 6 field goals that he has attempted in the past two games. Leading up to this season, Reichard was virtually flawless. That hasn’t been the case. The punt return team has also had its share of woes with muffed punts and costly mistakes from various players. These issues cannot continue especially against an offense that will make you pay.

The Bulldogs’ secondary

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

One issue that had plagued the Crimson Tide leading into the Tennessee game was wide receivers being able to create separation. Last week, Alabama’s receiving core did a better job of finding ways to get open. However, the bad thing is that the Bulldogs’ secondary is a force to be reckoned with. The Bulldogs’ secondary hasn’t allowed over 239 passing yards so far this season. With Alabama’s inability to stretch the field at times, this is a cause for concern. Alabama may look to lean on their running attack.

Penalties

(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

The biggest concern that all Alabama fans have is the penalty rate. Alabama ranks 129 out of 131 teams in FBS in both the number of penalties and the number of yards penalized. The Crimson Tide have been penalized 66 times for a total of 559 yards. That says a lot about the discipline of the team and their ability to eliminate costly mistakes. Alabama cannot afford to give Mississippi State’s offense more opportunities than they earn.

Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire

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