Alabama Crimson Tide Swamps the Florida Gators: 3 Thoughts the Day After
29 and 28.
Those are the margins of victory in Florida's two most lopsided losses in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in the last decade.
Both of those losses came at the hands of a Nick Saban coached football team.
That's the average margin of victory for Alabama in its last three matchups with the Gators.
Not many teams come into "The Swamp" and snatch away a victory let alone put a colossal beatdown on Florida. Sadly for Will Muschamp and company, it doesn't seem to matter whether the venue is in Atlanta, Tuscaloosa or Gainesville.
So how did the Crimson Tide do it?
Weather the Storm
When any team participates in a big road contest in a hostile environment you need to absorb the early surge that a home team can have in front of their adoring supporters.
Alabama did just that.
A lesser team would have crumbled after giving up a 65 yard touchdown pass on the first offensive play of the football game, but Nick Saban's troops took the early blow, got back up and marched on.
When Alabama jabbed it's way down the field to answer with a field goal you could see who was controlling the line of scrimmage.
Yes, you'd like to see that drive capped off with a touchdown, but the 12 play, 52 yard march calmed the game down and served notice that Trent Richardson and the Alabama ground game would have their way.
Running on Empty
If you can't be balanced against Alabama's defense then you have no shot.
Kirby Smart will find a way to make you one dimensional. Opposing offenses have enjoyed early success against the Crimson Tide, and while you high-five your early scoring treasures, Alabama is figuring you out.
The defensive adjustments made in games this season really can't be applauded enough.
Florida found success early against Alabama's man coverage, so the Tide went zone and riddled the Gator pass attack.
For a balanced team it wouldn't be that big of an issue, but for Charlie Weis and his neutralized speedsters it was like trying to fight a young Mike Tyson with one hand tied behind your back.
No team is going to have sustained success moving the football on Alabama until they can operate in both the run and the pass with good results.
Until then it won't matter if a team has Usain Bolt in their backfield.
Alabama's defense will slam the door shut.
The Disappearance of Trent Richardson
No, that isn't a comment on his performance.
He was elite as always.
No, that would be a comment of these one-to-two series absences that seem to pop up each and every game where Richardson vanishes from the football game.
It was quite obvious to anyone watching that Florida had about as much a chance of stopping Trent as the young padawans did of stopping a deranged Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith.
Still, with Alabama leading 24-10 in the third quarter and two possessions starting near midfield, No. 3 was absent.
Both drives were three-and-outs, and both drives were Richardson-less.
Look, I love Eddie Lacy. He is a fantastic two in the Crimson Tide's one-two running back punch, but when you have the ball in prime real estate and a chance to snuff out your opponent in the third quarter, you stack the deck.
With all that being said, it's hard to really nitpick what Jim McElwain has done with Alabama's offense since he arrived in Tuscaloosa, but there are the occasional lapses in judgment, much like the goal line play calling against Arkansas when the Razorbacks stopped Alabama.
So here we are.
Five games in and 5-0.
Alabama will not face another ranked team until the earth-shattering game with LSU on November 5th.
At this point, the Crimson Tide are a well oiled machine steam rolling their opponents.
The hunger that was absent a year ago seems to have infected this team like the plague, and keeping focus shall be the key for Alabama as they navigate the seemingly mundane waters of October in pursuit of a redemptive November.
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