The only reason Alabama offensive lineman Jonah Williams searches through stories online after a game is to find pictures of himself in action. But then he reads the headlines and that can easily send him down a frustrating path. So he stops looking.
“It’s funny,” Williams said. “When the running back scores a touchdown, the running back is incredible. When the quarterback throws a touchdown, the quarterback is incredible, and the receiver is incredible for making the catch. And when the offense doesn’t work, the O-line sucks. That’s how it always goes.”
Especially with last weekend’s Mississippi State game, in which Alabama did not finish with at least 500 yards of total offense for the first time this season. It had 305. The Crimson Tide’s 163 passing yards and 142 rushing yards were its lowest and second-lowest marks, respectively.
Alabama also gave up a season-high four sacks, after entering the game having allowed just six overall and no more than one per opponent.
“Look, I don’t really want to call out the offensive line,” UA coach Nick Saban said. “I don’t think that as an offense we did the little things that you need to do against a good team, whether it was technique-oriented. We made some mental errors in the game that were very costly.”
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, still wearing a brace on his right knee from a previous injury, was the victim of every sack. He took a bunch of low hits throughout the game and ultimately did not play in the fourth quarter.
On Monday, Saban said Tagaovailoa is OK and will practice this week. He said he has not considered sitting Tagovailoa for Saturday’s game against The Citadel.
“No,” Saban said. “Why would we do that? … I think we need to do a better job of the people playing around him doing they’re supposed to do so he doesn’t get hit. And he needs to do a better job of stepping up in the pocket and getting rid of the ball, which he had several opportunities to do.”
Tagovailoa completed 14 of his 21 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. He also threw his second interception of the season.
“It was some opportunities where he could’ve thrown the ball out to his check-down, but it was also some opportunities where it was too many guys,” UA running back Josh Jacobs said. “We had more rushers than we could block. And we had a couple opportunities, situations where the running back missed a block.
“So, that’s part of the little things that we’re trying to key on this week.”
Because, as always, there are areas the Crimson Tide can improve. Every position, too.
“Not taking the blame off the O-line,” Williams said. “There certainly are times when we could have done a better job. But it is a little bit naïve to look there and say the line isn’t blocking their assignments, because you guys don’t know what the assignments are.”
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.
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