Grading the AU game

As has been the case in a number of games this season, Alabama still just does not have a player who can take the game on his shoulders and pull out the win.

Hopefully as a result of the tough lessons learned this season, and the experience gained by some of the Tide's young guys, such a player will emerge in the off-season to take Alabama through next year.

Quarterback: C

Brodie Croyle didn't play with a lot of confidence Saturday. On several plays where he had a load of time, he still misfired.

Croyle actually looked better when running for his life on scrambles.

Brodie Croyle was relatively effective scrambling.

Running Backs: B

These guys still run hard and manage to make things happen when nothing is there. But they have gone backwards as blockers.

On several plays Saturday Bama's backs just seem to let the defender run over them.

Wide Receiver: C

As a group we may have been a little generous with that ‘C.'

Bama's receivers dropped too many potential game-breaking passes. Too many times the Tide wideouts are letting the ball hit them in the chest instead of catching it with their hands.

Unfortunately, their blocking wasn't very impressive either.

Offensive Line: C-

Dennis Alexander played but did not start.

Once again, inconsistency hurt the Tide blockers.

On some plays the Tide linemen look like a solid Division 1A unit. But on most they don't come even close.

On a number of downs, Brodie was given plenty of time. But on too many others, it looked like the blocker quit after initial contact.

Special teams: B-

We obviously wonder what Brandon Brooks could have done if he had been the Tide's return man last season and this entire season.

Alabama was dangerously close to getting a few punts blocked. But return blocking was better and coverage really didn't hurt the Tide much.

Defensive Line: C-

Mark Anderson led Bama's D-Line with three tackles.

As with the offensive line, production was very inconsistent.

As a unit they'll be aggressive, quick and physical on one play, then dragging on the next.

On a lot of plays, the Tide defensive linemen continue to come off the ball too high. More effort needs to be expended fighting off blocks.

Linebackers: B

Bama's linebackers are making too many tackles after a gain and very few on the line of scrimmage.

We talked about it, and we're not sure how much of that was by design and how much is on the players.

There is no argument that Alabama's ‘backers will hit when they get there.

Derrick Pope played hard.

Defensive Backs: C-

During Saturday's game they looked like they were trying to make things happen at times, but just did not have the skills to finish the job.

We're repeating ourselves, but we still think Bama's secondary should be much more physical and abusive versus opposing wide receivers.

EDITOR'S NOTE: David Bittinger is a veteran high school coach, now teaching in North Alabama. Each week during football season he'll watch the games with some of his coaching friends, and afterwards pass along some of their thoughts/comments about what they saw.

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