Auburn Opponent Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

Auburn faces off against rival Alabama in this weekend's Iron Bowl in Tuscalooa. Take a look at what the Tigers will be up against in their regular season finale.

Amari Cooper (above) is having a highly productive season as a receiver for Alabama.


When Auburn takes on Alabama this Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gus Malzahn’s Tigers will face off against one of the most balanced teams in the country.

With an explosive offensive attack led by quarterback Blake Sims and wide receiver Amari Cooper, Alabama can score points in bunches. Throw in a physical defense that is one of the best in the country against the run and you have a tall task for Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

“Like every year it’s talent,” Malzahn said of what stands out with Alabama. "They are one of the most talented teams in the country, if not the most talented. They are very good on defense. They play a lot of guys up front and they are very athletic. Offensively, they’ve got some playmakers. They can throw it, they can run it, there’s not a whole lot of weaknesses.”

Averaging 35 points per game, Alabama is led by Sims. Having a breakout season as a senior, he is completing 62.1 percent of his passes this year for 2,676 yards and 20 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Also adding 279 yards and five scores on the ground, Sims has been the driver for the Crimson Tide offense, but the engine has been Cooper.

One of the top players in the country regardless of position, Cooper has been nearly unstoppable. With 90 catches for 1,349 yards and 11 touchdowns, he has accounted for a large majority of the touches for Alabama’s receivers this season. DeAndrew White is next on the list with 30 catches for 319 yards and a pair of scores, but there is no doubt Cooper is the center of attention.

“That’s a big challenge,” Malzahn said. “He’s one of the better players in all of college football. He’s a playmaker. He can do things with it after he catches the ball. He’s definitely where it starts and you have to figure out a way to slow him down.”

Averaging 204.9 yards per game on the ground with 24 touchdowns, Alabama depends on T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry for much of the work. Expected to be back to full speed after being slowed the last few weeks, Yeldon leads the team with 759 yards and six touchdowns while Henry has added 682 yards and seven scores.

Fullback Jalston Fowler is a solid blocker and dangerous receiver out of the backfield while center Ryan Kelly leads a capable offensive line.

Blake Sims is having a huge senior season in his first year as a starter

Defensively, Alabama is allowing just 84.8 rushing yards per game and has given up only two touchdowns on the ground. However, the Crimson Tide has shown a little vulnerability against the run lately with 181 yards on the ground by Tennessee, 183 for LSU, and 138 for Mississippi State in its last three SEC games.

Athletic Xzavier Dickson leads the team in sacks with seven and in tackles for lost yardage with nine while A'Shawn Robinson holds down the middle of the line. Linebacker Reggie Ragland is tops on the team in tackles with 83 and is second with eight and a half tackles for losses. Trey DePriest has added 64 tackles for a very athletic and physical front seven. With safety Landon Collins patrolling the secondary it makes for a defense that can make plays at all three levels.

“I think they are talented at every area,” Malzahn said. “It starts up front in our league. They’ve got a lot of depth and big guys that are athletic and rush the passer well and hold their gaps. Their linebackers fit their gaps very well. On the back end they play a lot of man. They do a good job with that.”

Alabama Depth Chart

OFFENSE

LT 74 Cam Robinson 6-6 323 Fr. Monroe, La.
71 Ross Pierschbacher 6-4 295 Fr. Cedar Falls, Iowa

LG 77 Arie Kouandjio 6-5 315 Sr. Hyattsville, Md.
68 Isaac Luatua 6-2 315 Jr. La Mirada, Calif.

C 70 Ryan Kelly 6-5 296 Jr. West Chester, Ohio
75 Bradley Bozeman 6-5 325 Fr. Roanoke, Va.
63 J.C. Hassenauer 6-3 290 Fr. Woodbury, Minn.

RG 72 Leon Brown 6-6 320 Sr. Riverdale, Md. OR
50 Alphonse Taylor 6-5 325 So. Mobile, Ala.

RT 79 Austin Shepherd 6-5 320 Sr. Buford, Ga.
76 Dominick Jackson 6-7 320 Jr. Cupertino, Calif.

TE 84 Brian Vogler 6-7 263 Sr. Columbus, Ga. OR
88 O.J. Howard 6-6 240 So. Prattville, Ala.
89 Brandon Green 6-5 304 So. Ellenwood, Ga.
94 Dakota Ball 6-2 280 So. Lindale, Ga.
83 Ty Flournoy-Smith 6-3 245 Jr. Moultrie, Ga.

FB 45 Jalston Fowler 6-1 248 Sr. Mobile, Ala.
46 Michael Nysewander 6-1 238 Sr. Hoover, Ala.

QB 6 Blake Sims 6-0 208 Sr. Gainesville, Ga.
14 Jake Coker 6-5 230 Jr. Mobile, Ala.
11 Alec Morris 6-3 230 So. Allen, Texas

RB 4 T.J. Yeldon 6-2 221 Jr. Daphne, Ala.
27 Derrick Henry 6-3 241 So. Yulee, Fla.
20 Tyren Jones 5-9 212 Fr. Marietta, Ga.

WR (X) 9 Amari Cooper 6-1 210 Jr. Miami, Fla.
7 Cam Sims 6-4 208 Fr. Monroe, La.
8 Robert Foster 6-3 191 RS-Fr. Monaca, Penn.

H 22 Christion Jones 5-11 187 Sr. Adamsville, Ala.
1 Chris Black 5-11 186 So. Jacksonville, Fla.

Z 2 DeAndrew White 6-0 192 Sr. Houston, Texas
13 ArDarius Stewart 6-0 193 Fr. Fultondale, Ala.
1 Chris Black 5-11 186 So. Jacksonville, Fla.

DEFENSE

DE 93 Jonathan Allen 6-3 272 So. Leesburg, Va.
54 Dalvin Tomlinson 6-2 290 So. McDonough, Ga.
52 Dee Liner 6-3 295 So. Muscle Shoals, Ala.

NG 86 A’Shawn Robinson 6-4 320 So. Fort Worth, Texas
99 Brandon Ivory 6-4 308 Sr. Memphis, Tenn. OR
95 Darren Lake 6-3 323 Jr. York, Ala.

DE 90 Jarran Reed 6-4 315 Jr. Goldsboro, N.C. OR
57 D.J. Pettway 6-3 265 Jr. Pensacola, Fla.
9 Da’Shawn Hand 6-4 273 Fr. Woodbridge, Va.

JACK 47 Xzavier Dickson 6-3 268 Sr. Griffin, Ga.
7 Ryan Anderson 6-2 258 So. Daphne, Ala.
56 Tim Williams 6-3 242 So. Baton Rouge, La

. SAM 30 Denzel Devall 6-2 254 Jr. Bastrop, La.
7 Ryan Anderson 6-2 258 So. Daphne, Ala. OR
25 Dillon Lee 6-4 243 Jr. Buford, Ga.

MIKE 33 Trey DePriest 6-2 250 Sr. Springfield, Ohio
10 Reuben Foster 6-1 244 So. Auburn, Ala.
11 Shaun Dion Hamilton 6-0 233 Fr. Montgomery, Ala.

WILL 19 Reggie Ragland 6-2 254 Jr. Madison, Ala.
10 Reuben Foster 6-1 244 So. Auburn, Ala.
35 Walker Jones 6-2 238 Fr. Germantown, Tenn.

CB 4 Eddie Jackson 6-0 188 So. Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
2 Tony Brown 6-0 198 Fr. Beaumont, Texas

CB 5 Cyrus Jones 5-10 194 Jr. Baltimore, Md.
21 Maurice Smith 6-0 195 So. Sugar Land, Texas
3 Bradley Sylve 5-11 180 Jr. Port Sulphur, La.

SS 26 Landon Collins 6-0 222 Jr. Geismar, La.
20 Jarrick Williams 6-1 215 Sr. Mobile, Ala.
6 Hootie Jones 6-2 221 Fr. Monroe, La.

FS 27 Nick Perry 6-1 211 Sr. Prattville, Ala. OR
24 Geno Smith 6-0 197 Jr. Atlanta, Ga.
23 Jabriel Washington 5-11 183 Jr. Jackson, Tenn.

STAR 20 Jarrick Williams 6-1 215 Sr. Mobile, Ala.
21 Maurice Smith 6-0 195 So. Sugar Land, Texas OR
24 Geno Smith 6-0 197 Jr. Atlanta, Ga.

2014 Schedule

Aug. 30 vs. West Virginia (ABC/ESPN2) W, 33-23
Sept. 6 Florida Atlantic (SEC Net.) W, 41-0
Sept. 13 Southern Miss (ESPN2) W, 52-12
Sept. 20 *Florida (CBS) W, 42-21
Oct. 4 *at 11/11 Ole Miss (CBS) L, 17-23
Oct. 11 *at Arkansas (ESPN) W, 14-13
Oct. 18 *21/21 Texas A&M (CBS) W, 59-0
Oct. 25 *at Tennessee (ESPN2) W, 34-20
Nov. 8 *at 16/14/15 LSU (CBS) W, 20-13 (OT)
Nov. 15 *1/1/1 Mississippi State (CBS) W, 25-20
Nov. 22 Western Carolina (SEC Net.) W, 48-14
Nov. 29 *14/15/16 Auburn (ESPN) 6:45 p.m.


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