Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blake Sims shines as Alabama defeats West Virginia

Football, as in life, is essentially a mixed bag of breaks and opportunities. When it came to the Alabama/West Virginia contest, Blake Sims made the most of a well-earned opportunity and West Virginia received a plethora of bad breaks. When the contents were mixed together in a four quarter blender, the Crimson Tide held off the pesky Mountaineers by the score of 33-23.

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High Tide and low Tide

On the Alabama side of the equation, the two stories of note were the 250 yard passing performance by Blake Sims and UA's lackluster pass defense. While Sims, in his first collegiate start, played as solid as anyone could have dreamed, the Crimson Tide defense, especially the secondary, picked up where it left off against Oklahoma. If Sims had a dream debut, the Crimson Tide defense had a nightmare. Allowing 393 total yards, 365 through the air, Alabama's secondary is still one of the biggest question marks entering the second week of the season.

Four quarter Sims

In respect to the aforementioned Sims and the Alabama quarterback situation in general, Saturday's contest at the Georgia Dome belonged to the fifth-year senior. While Jake Coker did warm up on one occasion, the Florida State transfer was a spectator against West Virginia. Although Sims, especially early, missed a couple of open throws, he was calm and collected against the Mountaineers and appeared to feed off Lane Kiffin's stoic demeanor. In total, Alabama garnered 538 yards of total offense.

Super Cooooooooooper

As noted in the prior embedded tweet which included the outstanding ground efforts of Derrick Henry and T.J Yeldon, wide receiver Amari Cooper proved to be Blake Sims' primary target against WVU. In what looked like an audition for the Atlanta Falcons, Cooper grabbed essentially every pass thrown in his direction and concluded the game with statistics worthy of the Alabama record book.

West Virginia butterfingers

In respect to West Virginia, the Mountaineers probably deserved better. Perhaps even a victory. While the Alabama secondary seemed to allow big play after big play, WVU had several dropped balls that could have easily changed the complexion of the game. Granted, Blake Sims had a few missed opportunities as well, but West Virginia seemed to encounter a self-inflicted pitfall every other drive. When the day was done, quarterback Clint Trickett had thrown for 365 yards and one touchdown, but his numbers should have been better. For a bulk of the contest Alabama's best defense in the secondary came in the form of WVU wide receivers dropping catchable passes. Those speaking with an objective voice would likely agree.

Nick Saban's postgame presser

Coach Saban shares his overall thoughts on Alabama's hard-fought victory against West Virginia and provides an injury update in respect to wide receiver DeAndrew White.

Looking ahead

Nick Saban is a teacher, and with Alabama's mixed bag in terms of overall performance against West Virginia, Saban and his entire coaching staff now have a laundry list of things to improve upon as the Crimson Tide move forward.

It shouldn't take much film evaluation to notice that 'Bama's weakest link is found in the secondary in respect to pass coverage. Alabama, for whatever the reason(s), still look like deer in headlights when it comes to facing an uptempo air raid system. Too many times West Virginia receivers were essentially wide open. That fact alone makes the aforementioned point about WVU's dropped passes even more critical. Who knows how things would have played out had Trickett received some help.

After week one, Alabama is a good team. Perhaps a very good team, but certainly not a great team. Over the course of the next two weeks, against much inferior competition, the Crimson Tide should be able to work out the kinks before rejoining the fold in respect to clashing with formidable oppositions.

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