Fresh off their 38-10 thrashing of Georgia, the Alabama Crimson Tide looked to make it two-straight SEC wins Saturday night when they hosted the Arkansas Razorbacks. Mark Schofield looks at how Alabama woke up in time to secure a vital win.
With nearly three quarters of the game completed, the Tide were struggling. They trailed 7-3, having managed only a field goal in the first quarter. But after a Razorbacks punt, the offense took over at their own 19-yard line, and within a matter of seconds they would have the lead.
Quarterback Jake Coker lines up under center with 11 personnel on the field, with an inverted slot right and a pro alignment to the left. Arkansas has their 4-2-5 nickel defense in the game, showing Cover 2 in the secondary with two high safeties. The Crimson Tide run play action, with Coker faking an inside run to Derrick Henry (#2) before looking for Calvin Ridley (#3) on a vertical route:
The WR gets behind the defense with ease, and Coker drops in a perfectly-placed touch pass for the long score:
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With the use of ESPN’s “SpiderCam” we can see how this play developed. Here is a look at the defense before the snap, with the secondary showing Cover 2 with three defenders to cover the two receivers on the right side of the offense:
Defensive breakdowns take place all over the field for the Razorbacks. On the backside, the cornerback bites forward on the play-fake, before quickly retreating into his underneath zone:
But things are much worse playside. Both receivers release vertically, with the outside receiver running an out route. When he makes his cut, the playside cornerback, sinking under the potential vertical route as required in Cover 2, gets turned around:
While freshman safety Santos Ramirez (#9) does not make the only defensive mistake on the play, his is the most glaring. When Ridley releases vertically, he shows the safety a post route with three hard steps to the inside at the top of his stem. As Ramirez bites forward on the potential incut, Ridley bends back to the outside:
Adding these pieces together, you have a huge touchdown for the Crimson Tide:
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Spurred on by the big play, Alabama went on to win the game 27-14. This keeps their SEC West hopes alive, with a huge game next week at Texas A&M looming.
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.
Mark Schofield has always loved football. He breaks down film, scouts prospects, and explains the passing game for Inside the Pylon.
All video and images courtesy ESPN.