Yesterday, we took a look at Alabama State’s offense. Tonight, we take a look at their defense. A defense that surrendered over 400+ yards to Tuskegee last week....
For the most part, the Alabama State front four aren’t a big group. But that “one part” almost makes up for it all by himself. Christian Clark, the Hornets’ starting nose guard, comes in at 6’1” 373 lbs which should give Kaleb Kim a chance to practice moving a boulder. Outside of Clark, Alabama State doesn’t have a single defensive lineman over 280 lbs. If Auburn’s offensive line can’t move these fellas then we might be in for some trouble next week...
The playmaker of this defense is found at the Hornets’ hybrid LB/S spot in Dennis Roberts. He was all over the field for Alabama State in last week’s win over Tuskegee tallying 7.5 tackles, 2.5 TFL and snagging an interception. I suspect he will stuff the stat sheet full of tackles this week vs the Tigers as well.
On the backend, Alabama State’s starting safeties combined for 20.5 tackles last weekend. Considering the struggles last week in slowing the run game, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are asked to make a bunch of tackles again tomorrow. Jeffrey Hill, once a Northern Illinois signee, lead the team in interceptions last season with three. This group can be very physical but not sure if they have the speed to keep up with the Tigers on the perimeter.
The Hornets predominantly run a 4-2-5 scheme that features a hybrid LB/S as that 5th DB. They will sometimes roll into a 3-4 look but typically they operate with four down lineman. Roberts gives them the ability to show a lot of different looks as he can line up as a true strongside linebacker or slide out into the slot like a nickel corner. They also aren’t afraid to bring the heat on 3rd down so Auburn’s backs should get some work in blitz pickup Saturday.
From what I can tell in the limited tape available, Alabama State likes to run a lot of two high safety looks. They give a lot of cushion on the outside as well so expect a lot of Auburn’s quick hitting RPO concepts to have success. More than likely, Auburn will probably have success throwing it deep as well as Darius Slayton has the speed to just run by this defense.
Honestly, Auburn’s first team offense should not be stopped in this game. Against Jacksonville State in 2015, Auburn faced a defensive line filled with former blue chip SEC recruits. That’s not the case this time around. In 2017 against Mercer, Auburn’s offense moved the ball fine they just couldn’t hang onto said ball. If the Tigers don’t turn the ball over and don’t commit a bunch of dumb penalties, then we should see a ton of points fast tomorrow.