What We Learned: Alabama vs. ULM

Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs (1) runs the ball against University of Louisiana Monroe at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Sep 17, 2022.

If you just looked at the final score, you’d probably be satisfied with how Alabama handled the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe and think that this team is finding its groove again. However, looking beyond the numbers, there is a lot to take away from this one, and once again, it’s not all positive for this team. Let’s get into the Crimson Tide’s 63-7 victory over ULM, and as always, we’ll start with the good:

Alabama finding multiple ways to score:

The Crimson Tide recorded an offensive, defensive, and special teams touchdown in the first seven minutes of the game and set an FBS record for quickest team to ever accomplish this feat. While the result of the game was never going to be in doubt against a team like ULM, on a day the offense was out of synch (more on that in a minute), it was a sigh of relief for a team that had not created a turnover yet this season to create multiple touchdowns off them. Will Anderson recorded a pick six along with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Malachi Moore and later in the game, a Brian Branch punt return for a touchdown.


The offense continues to look out of synch:

Another week, another game where Jahmyr Gibbs is the leading receiver on this offense. After the first drive, which is often scripted, things just looked off for Alabama in the passing game. Young’s first pick was fairly atrocious, and though Ja’Corey Brooks probably should have caught the second one, it was still an off-throw that was slightly behind him and needed to be better. Young also missed a fairly open Jermaine Burton on a deep ball that was out of his reach. I don’t know what the solution is for this unit moving forward. But through three games, it doesn’t seem to be improving. It is extremely concerning.

How lost would this offense be without Jahmyr Gibbs?

Jahmyr Gibbs is the best player on this offense and it isn’t particularly close. Bill O’Brien needs to do a better job of getting him into open space, because when that happens, he is almost impossible to defend. All that being said, the fact that a running back who catches passes is having to bail out this receiving core and this play caller is extremely problematic and does not bode well for success against the top of college football. Regardless, if O’Brien can force teams to plan around Gibbs, perhaps it will open things up for the rest of the offense that seems to be in a rut.

Jalen Milroe is FAST:

We haven’t seen a lot of Jalen Milroe, and when he does get on the field it is when the game is already out of reach and he is likely playing against backups. But the guy can absolutely fly with the ball in his hands. It makes me wonder whether Saban and O’Brien would consider drawing up some special packages to get him on the field, if anything just to inject some life into an offense that is struggling right now.

Overall Assessment:

I continue to be wary of the possibility that one of these road opponents will catch the Tide on a sloppy day and put up enough points to be able to take them down. With Georgia looking even stronger than last year, as crazy as that sounds, the Tide need to fix things on offense, and fast. Georgia simply looks like the more complete team right now, and that has to be the measuring stick for Alabama. I don’t think all is lost by any means, but adjustments need to be made.