Alabama Football: Why Defense Will Key Alabama's Victory Over Arkansas

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IISeptember 12, 2012

The Alabama defense is going to look to feast on the Arkansas backfield, just like they did against Michigan.
The Alabama defense is going to look to feast on the Arkansas backfield, just like they did against Michigan.Leon Halip/Getty Images

Alabama is explosive on both sides of the ball, but the defense will be what gives the Crimson Tide a win Saturday over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

While the excitement has risen with the offense and its 76 points so far this season, the focus is, and always will remain, on defense.

And, what a test the Crimson Tide defense will receive Saturday when they face off against the Razorbacks. Of course, that is assuming quarterback Tyler Wilson is good to start after suffering a head injury in last week's loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

Regardless of who is at quarterback, the Alabama defense is going to be licking its chops.

If it's Wilson, they're going to put pressure on him early, also testing the Arkansas offensive line. If the Tide can manage to get to Wilson, they're going to force early throws, as he's not going to want to get hit like he did last week.

If backup quarterback Brandon Allen gets the start, I could see the Alabama defense throwing a lot of wrinkles into its scheme. Allen is only a freshman and has a lot to learn about SEC football. If he's playing, prayer might be his best weapon.

The Arkansas quarterback position won't be the weakness on offense. There are many other areas where the Razorbacks will struggle against a strong Alabama defense.


Running Back

For all of the Heisman-hype and preseason First-Team All-SEC honors Knile Davis received, he's showing he wouldn't be a starter on most other teams in the league.

Davis has looked worse than average in the first two games of the season, rushing for 70 yards against Jacksonville State and 62 yards against Louisiana-Monroe.

So, what are we to expect from him against a real defense like Alabama? As a matter of fact, what can we expect from him against any other defense in the SEC?

Nothing against Jacksonville State and Louisiana-Monroe, but there's no reason why Davis shouldn't have had 100 yards or more rushing in each of those games. He looked sluggish in both and looked scared to hit the hole.

Alabama linebackers Nico Johnson and Xzavier Dickson are going to feast on that and I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish the game with less than 30 yards on the ground.


Offensive Line

Where do you start with the Arkansas offensive line? It's because of them that Wilson was injured in the first place.

If they learned how to block lower-level Division I teams, then there wouldn't be a discussion about Arkansas actually being a contender.

Instead, good players like Wilson will struggle because of their inability to block.

Alabama is going to test their strength early to see if they'll fold like they did in the fourth quarter against Louisiana-Monroe. Look for Alabama defensive lineman Ed Stinson and Damion Square to keep them back on their heels all game.


Michigan Game Anyone?

As if you didn't already know after Alabama thrashed Michigan 41-14, the Alabama defense is good. That's the way Nick Saban recruits. He wants the best defensive players in the country.

The Tide can play against a power run game or a spread offense, and everything in between. They take away your advantages and make them into advantages for them. Just ask Denard Robinson.

Arkansas is seriously going to have to figure out a few wrinkles for the Alabama defense. If they don't, we're liable to see more points put up by the defense than the offense.