Scouting report Ole Miss-Alabama outcome hinges on
Scouting report Ole Miss-Alabama outcome hinges on
This weekend pits another high profile, talent-laded matchup acro s SEC lines in perennial powerhouse #2 Alabama squaring off against #15.Last season, Ole Mi s finished first in the country in scoring defense Sparky Anderson Jersey
and eight starters return from that team that beat Alabama in Oxford.MORE: | | To pull off another upset, Ole Mi s has to slow down 242-pound Alabama running backDerrick Henry the best power running back in the country.Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche leads the Rebel defense and, along with defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton and linebacker C.J. Johnson, will look to get through the Tide offensive line and keep Henry from taking over the game.Dominant downhill runnerHenry isthe focal point of the Crimson Tide offense. He's big (6-3, 242) even by NFL standards. He has a thick center of gravity, runs behind his pads and runs through alot ofarm tackles. He is a downhill runner with deceptively fast top speed. To get a good read on him before he gets a good running lane, defenseshave to slow him down before he gets to the second level.Ole Mi s wants to force him to dance around the holes instead of bursting through them so he cant pick up speed and run behind his powerful frame. He falls forward on nearly every run and plays with toughne s.The junior is a willing blocker, butunrefined. In Week 1 againstWisconsin, Henry mi sed a pa s protection a signment and Tide QB Jake Coker was sacked.As you can see in the GIF below, Henry does a poor job on the play. He's Jordan Zimmermann Jersey
late at diagnosing the pre sure up the middle. He doesn't squaree up when he attempts to block the blitzing linebacker which allows the linebacker to dip around him for the third-down, drive-ending sack.Later in the game, he makes some improvements. With a blitzing middle linebacker shooting the A-gap, Henry sees the pre sure, squares up, uses fantastic hand placement, and drives his legs into the ground like a tree stump. This is perfect execution of how a running back should pick up a blitz.In 2014 againstOhio State, Henry neutralized All-American defensive end Joey Bosa on a few pa s protections. When he gets into that mode blocking he can be an every down back, adding some touch with his soft hands out of the backfield as an above average receiver. He does a good job of squeezing through holes, much like his 37-yard touchdown run against Wisconsin. However, he is not a patient runner and often mi ses his zone-run schemes best option. If youre looking for a cla sic one-cut runner, Henry's your man. Hedoesnt offer much with jukesor hard cuts, but he can put a defense on its heelswhen he gets a head of steam. He runs too upright and often lacks explosion or burst through holes. He lacks strongvision James McCann Jersey
as a runner, which is alarming for his NFL prospects because timing can be everything ().Nkemdiche the key for succe sBy NFL standards,Nkemdiche is undersized for the 3-technique he plays but make no mistake, Nkemdiche controls the point-of-attack with strong hands and a low center of gravity to control the bigger guards he faces.The quickne s from the Ole Mi s front four was obvious againstlower-tier teams Tenne see-Martin and Fresno State to begin the season. The Ole Mi s defense can hurt an offense in different ways and it likely comes down to you the offense attacks Nkemdiche. If you take him on one-on-one, Nkemdiches quickne s and burst off-the-line likelywillwreak havoc on Henrys running lanes much like last year. The other option double-teaming Nkemdiche frees up one of the other talented front seven defenders.Last season,Alabama double-teamed Nkemdiche. In the Gif below the double team comes down the line, which frees up the middle allowing the other defensive tackle to slow Henrys acceleration and choose a new lane. Henry was slowed and the hole filled.Keys to the matchupHenry is most succesffulwith the power running game in the A-gaps running iso plays, blastsand dives. Ole Mi s thrives on closing the inside gaps and bouncing runs to the outside where the Rebels speed blocks the perimeter. For Alabama to get its power running game going, quarterbackJake Coker must first open up the boundaries and the underneath Nick Castellanos Jersey
routes with short quick pa ses. This will free up the inside blockage from the linebacking corps.For Ole Mi s it is simple: Dont let Coker open up the defense. The Rebels have Niko Goodrum Jersey
to trust their one-on-one matchups in the secondary and load the box with run stoppers instead of having five defensive backs on the field to shore up the flats and the intermediate pa sing game.Should Alabama double-team Nkemdiche on the interior to try and create running lanes, watch for inside linebackersJohnson and Christian Bryant to have one-on-one matchups with Henry in the box. If Alabama chooes on-on-ones in the box, watch ifHenry can win with his agility in space or if he stays with thepower running game.Also, watch how Tide centerRyan Kelly makes the offensive line calls and how he performs at controlling the point-of-attack against Nkemdiche and Hamilton. If Alabama can win one-on-ones in the trenches, expect a big game fromHenry. That's easier said than done against the nations No.1scoring defense with one of the nations most talented defensive lines.