November 7, 2017 7:28:25 AM
Aaron does an incredible job covering Alabama for The Tuscaloosa News/TideSports.com, so you should check out his work this week and otherwise.
1 - Once again, Alabama's defense is dealing with a mass of injuries. Obviously Alabama's recruiting success gives it the depth to deal with it, but when it comes to the individual players asked to do more, who are they and how do they match up with the team that runs the ball the way Mississippi State does?
Keith Holcombe is the more experienced player at inside linebacker, and he already stepped up when Rashaan Evans went down earlier this year. Dylan Moses, a five-star freshman, will also be asked to do more. No one, however, will replace what Shaun Dion Hamilton brought to the defense.
2 - What has Alabama done against the elite pass rushers it's faced this year? MSU looks like it might have one in Montez Sweat.
The offensive line has been susceptible to the pass rush this season. Just last week Arden Key gave UA fits. Florida State also had success.
3 - How is Alabama's offensive line from guard to guard? Todd Grantham's system has put a lot on the shoulders of Jeffery Simmons and Braxton Hoyett in the interior and they've delivered.
For the majority of the year the offensive line had been dominant, but, again, good defensive lines have given UA trouble and limited the powerful run game. Right guard Lester Cotton has had great games and he's had games in which he wasn't consistent.
4 - Has Alabama faced a team that features tight ends as often as MSU does? It's not uncommon for MSU to go an entire drive with two on the field and split out wide.
Alabama hasn't faced much of the 12 personnel this season, at least not that I recall.
5 - The targets shows that Alabama really, really loves going to Calvin Ridley. Is slowing down Alabama's pass offense as simple as dedicating most resources to him?
That's a good place to start. However, Jalen Hurts is starting to get a good chemistry going with tight end Irv Smith Jr. All the freshmen are legit too. But he really likes to go to Ridley. Sending a defensive back also forces quick decisions from Jalen Hurts too.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson