Alabama Panel: Mississippi State week

Published 12:08 am Saturday, November 13, 2010

How much of Alabama’s run game struggles can be attributed to play calling?

Kenny Freeman: I think the struggles have a whole lot more to do with Mike Johnson and Drew Davis graduating last year than it does play calling.

Jason Cannon: You can attribute struggles with the running game to the erratic play at the quarterback position. LSU forced Alabama to the air, and that was the

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only way they could win that game. Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram are game

changers. Greg McElroy is a game manager.

Roger Hoggle: Some struggles can be attributed to play calling, and some can be attributed to the defense. I think we don’t try to get outside the tackles enough, but we also are facing defenses that are stacking the box and sending delayed blitzes to fill holes and that is really hindering our running game.

What was the biggest problem against LSU in your estimation?

Kenny Freeman: Easy to answer this one, LSU just flat outplayed Alabama and, as bad as it hurts, they out-coached Bama too.

Jason Cannon: LSU is fourth in the conference in rushing offense and Alabama is seventh in defending the run. The problem, in my opinion, is Alabama didn’t play up to the challenge.

Roger Hoggle: I think we have a young defense and had some missed assignments. LSU had a good game plan and simply whipped us at the line of scrimmage.

What is your prediction for how Alabama will end the season?

Kenny Freeman: With Alabama’s inconsistencies this year from one half to another, I do not have a clue.

Jason Cannon: It depends a lot on what happens in Auburn. I can’t see Alabama beating Auburn with Cam Newton under center. However, if he’s not eligible to play, that game is wide open again. Alabama will skunk Mississippi State and Georgia State, and head to a New Year’s Day bowl, where they will probably beat whomever they play.

Roger Hoggle: I am optimistic that we will be more comfortable at home where we have an 18-game winning streak dating back to 2007, and we will be more aggressive on defense and less predictable on offense. We could end with a 10-2 record and a good bowl bid. Probably the Capitol One bowl

How big of a factor will running the ball and stopping the run play in winning this game?

Kenny Freeman: I think it is by far the two most important parts on every game. You

have got to be able to move the ball on the ground and stop your opponent. If you are going to win with consistency, you have got to do this.

Jason Cannon: It boils down to whether or not Alabama learned anything from LSU. The offensive style is pretty similar. If Alabama can stuff the run early, Relf can’t win this game with his arm and Alabama will cruise.

Roger Hoggle: A huge part. If we can stop their running game, especially Ballard, we can be more aggressive and send some blitzes to force bad throws in their passing game. As for us running the ball, we haven’t effectively run the ball in four or five weeks, so we need to focus on getting Ingram off early, maybe a screen play or toss sweep to get him out on the corner so he can make plays.

What is your prediction for the final score and a key player?

Kenny Freeman: I think this is going to be a hard fought game, and the key player needs to be Mark Ingram. To get a win he really needs to have a big game. Alabama 21, Miss State 17.

Jason Cannon: Marcel Dareus needs to be larger than life. If he can set up camp in the backfield, the Tide will roll. Alabama 35, Mississippi State 10.

Roger Hoggle: 38-17 Bama. Look for Julio to have another big game.