The Alabama Crimson Tide have looked incredibly impressive in their first two games and appear ready to keep rolling as they start SEC play against Arkansas.
The Razorbacks are reeling from a shocking loss to Louisiana-Monroe, and Arkansas’ season may be off to a dreadful start if it loses to Alabama.
With the Crimson Tide looking like the best team in the nation, it is difficult to see them dropping this game.
Here are the players who will ensure that everything goes according to plan for Alabama.
A.J. McCarron, Quarterback
Due to Alabama’s smothering defense, McCarron’s primary responsibility is to take care of the ball, and he has done that extremely well in these first two games.
The junior has six touchdowns and no interceptions thus far, going 14-of-19 for 219 yards in the Tide’s last game against Western Kentucky.
He has grown into the type of efficient, patient passer that fits the mindset of this football team perfectly. He must continue to manage the game and control the tempo against Arkansas.
If McCarron continues to play mistake-free football, it will be extremely difficult for any team in the country to beat Alabama.
Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker and Barrett Jones, Offensive Linemen
If McCarron does make errant throws, it will almost certainly be his fault and not due to poor blocking. The Alabama offensive line is the best front five in the nation.
Warmack is the left guard, while Fluker plays right tackle and Jones is the center. All three may end up being first-round picks in next year’s NFL draft.
These are the three most talented players on a line that works extremely well together and sets the tone for Alabama’s offense. These players nearly always win the battle in the trenches, and when they do, the Crimson Tide control the clock and force teams to score points on limited opportunities against their defense.
Scoring on Alabama’s defense may be the most difficult task in college football, which is why these three blockers’ success often leads to victories.
Nico Johnson, Linebacker
Johnson plays at the heart of the defense and provides senior leadership for the dominant group.
He had eight tackles and a forced fumble against Western Kentucky and helped lead Alabama’s shutout.
The Crimson Tide’s defense is littered with talent, but Johnson provides a combination of skill and experience. He must continue to lead by example and produce at a high level against Arkansas.
When he does this, everything else will fall into place on defense, and Alabama will cruise to a victory over the Razorbacks to kick off its SEC campaign.