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Alabama was like Jekyll and Hyde on Saturday night against Ole Miss. The offense was unstoppable, wracking up 723 total yards of offense while scoring 63 points. The defense, on the other hand, was unbelievably bad.
That side allowed the Rebels to have 647 total yards of its own while also giving up 48 points. They allowed nine third-down conversions on 17 attempts (52.9 percent) while also failing to stop any of the four fourth-down attempts.
It was bad. It wasn’t like Alabama.
But what went wrong? Well, it’s a combination of things, most of it falling on the Crimson Tide. There is one thing, however, that Alabama players — and even head coach Nick Saban — pointed out that could have contributed.
Did Ole Miss have Alabama’s defensive signals? Star linebacker Dylan Moses certainly seems to think so.
“They had an answer for everything, what we were lined up in,” Moses said following the game.
"They had an answer for everything, what we were lined up in."
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 11, 2020
Is that possible? Absolutely, especially if there hasn’t been much to change since Lane Kiffin was roaming the Alabama sidelines as its offensive coordinator. But if that’s the case, it’s a big issue for the Tide.
It also makes it more difficult to put the blame for the defensive struggles solely on the shoulders of now defensive coordinator Pete Golding. Having defensive signals that, for the most part, date back to at least the Kiffin era means they date back to the pre-Golding era.
It’s means the signals belong to Nick Saban, which should remind us that the head coach still has a big hand in the defense. And as much praise as he gets for when things are going well, he should also shoulder some of the blame when things are not.
And that’s ok. Saban is more than willing to take responsibility for his team’s failures. He finished answering a question about the defensive struggles with “again, I’m responsible for that and we just got to do a better job with our players.”
It doesn’t stop at defensive signals either. Could that have helped Kiffin and his offense? Absolutely. But the missed tackles and mental lapses fall squarely on Alabama’s coaches and players. And they are issues that need to get fixed immediately.
With undefeated Georgia rolling into Tuscaloosa next Saturday, Alabama better hope some of them are fixed by then.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.