Crimson Tide-Utes: Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram Are Ready for Utah Defense

L.C. MayCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2008

As the time nears for Alabama to take on Utah in the Sugar Bowl, people are starting to wonder if the Utah defense can stop the great duo of running backs in Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram?

According to the Salt Lake Tribune starting linebacker for the Utes Mike Wright said, "Coffee is quick and powerful and we understand it's a big challenge for us. But also a big opportunity."

The Utes defense enters the contest with a rushing game that has stopped great running backs such as Colorado State's Gartrell Johnson, who was held to only 95 yards on 20 carries and zero touchdowns. The Utah defense also held TCU to just 15 yards in the third quarter and Air Force to 53 yards the whole game.

If you do not know already, Utah likes to run a basic 4-3 defense that Alabama has seen many times already. Incoming defense coordinator Kalani Sitake said, ''We are focusing on wrapping Glen Coffee up and corralling him before he can get going."

Coffee averages 6.1 yards per carry while Ingram averages 5.5 yards per carry. Not only are those two dangerous, but Roy Upchurch is there and they like to throw screens to him.

Will Utah be able to stop this great rushing attack?

They do have great players that would be able to make big plays such as Mike Wright, Greg Newman, Paul Kruger, and Koa Misi. Those are some talented players, but with Alabama having a great offensive line and knowing how the 4-3 works, I don't think the 4-3 will give those great game changers enough room to wrap up Coffee. If Utah blitzes too many men, Alabama has a quarterback that does not have a bad arm.

So will Utah be able slow down the rushing game? Yes, but not enough to keep Alabama from pulling away with a victory. Utah is going to bring a heavy blitzing scheme into play to try to stop the rushing attack.

If my analysis is right and Utah brings the blitzing attack they might try to force some fumbles which may cause a very close game. Alabama needs to refresh their memories of the 4-3 and get ready because Utah has won their last eight bowl games including one that was a BCS bowl.

So a warning right now goes to Alabama: Make sure to protect the ball or else we will see a replay of the Oklahoma vs. Boise State game.