The 2019 College Football season is now over, with many teams evaluating their seasons of highs and lows. With many of their star players coming back for 2019, including quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the Alabama Crimson Tide were looking for their 18th national championship in program history and their second title in three years. The Tide were looking to redeem themselves from the embarrassing 44-16 loss to the Clemson Tigers in the 2019 College Football Playoffs National Championship. Alabama’s season full of expectations fell short due to unfortunate, uncontrollable situations. The Tide experienced some highs by getting to another 11-year season, the elite passing offense, and building for the future. Unfortunately for Alabama, this 2019 season will be remembered as the season of shortcomings. This season wasn’t a total loss as there many attributes to a successful future.
Overview: Alabama 2019 Season
The Positives Of 2019
The Tide finished the season with their ninth straight 11-win season. Before the season, the Tide was primarily labeled as an elite offense led by Tagovailoa and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. In the nine games he played this season, Tagovailoa passed for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only three interceptions on 180 completions (out of 252 attempts). Jeudy accounted for 77 receptions for 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns. It was Devonta Smith that was the star of the Tide’s high-power passing offense as he switched with Jeudy from slot receiver to the main outside receiver. Smith accounted for 68 receptions for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns. When Tagovailoa went down with a hip injury, former backup Mac Jones came in and still provided solid support for the Tide’s offense. Jones was a good indication of things to come if he wins the starting job in the offseason.
The Tide finished second in the nation behind LSU in points per game (47.2). While injuries plagued Alabama’s season, many freshmen stepped in and played well. True freshmen inside linebackers Shane Lee and Christian Harris played significantly well in big games. Lee and Harris got the starting jobs shortly before Alabama’s first game. Lee accounted for the second-most tackles on the team with 86 as well as 6.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Harris accounted for 61 total tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. Guard Evan Neal is one of the few freshmen offensive line to ever start for Alabama. He was highly consistent in run-blocking and providing support from the pass rush. Both Lee and Neal were named to the 2019 FWAA Freshman All-American team.
The Negatives Of 2019
A multitude of injuries plagued the Tide occurred before and during the season. Lee and Harris played well in a surprising factor. The major injuries of inside linebackers Dylan Moses and Joshua McMillion were a huge blow for a team that was expected to have an elite defense. The on-the-field play-calling responsibilities shifted from an injured Moses to safety Xavier McKinney. While McKinney played great in multiple situations, he struggles in the defensive responsibilities. This was a concern coming from first-year defensive coordinator Pete Golding. Often, the Tide’s defense seemed ill-prepared on play calls and responding during the plays. The Tide finished with the 13th ranked scoring defense (18.6 points allowed per game) and 21st in total defense (324.6 total yards allowed per game).
What makes Alabama’s defense a consistently efficient unit is their ability to get to the quarterback. Former defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Quinnen Williams blessed the Tide as high-velocity pass rushers. Outside of their outside linebackers in Anfernee Jennings (eight sacks) and Terrell Lewis (six sacks), no other player on the defensive line was an impact in the pass rush game. Defensive end Labryan Ray suffered a broken foot three games into the season and only accounted for one sack. The main and reserve defensive linemen only accounted for eight total sacks in the season. Senior defensive end Raekwon Davis only accounted for half of a sack in the season. True freshman defensive end Justin Eboigbe accounted for 1.5 sacks in four games played this season.
Loss Of Dynasty Roll
For the first time in the six years of the College Football Playoffs, the Crimson Tide were left out. The last time they were in the playoffs in the 2019 National Title game, Alabama lost by 28-points to Clemson. The end of 2019 could be the end of the dynasty roll for the Crimson Tide. Alabama finished the season ranked eighth in the AP Poll. This is their worst ranking since the 2010 season when they finished 10th in the nation. Alabama will be considered as an elite program with its recent success and current top recruiting class for 2020. If the Tide wants to be back in the dynasty position along with Clemson, despite the championship loss, they need a title game win again.
Start Of A Revenge Season
The year after Alabama finished 10th in the nation in 2010, they won a National Championship in 2011 against LSU and in 2013 against Notre Dame. Head coach Nick Saban is a coach who creates and builds hunger in his players based on previous shortcomings. While players like Tagovailoa, Jeudy, and McKinney are departing early to potentially be high picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, many Tide players are coming back for the 2020 season. Moses, McMillion, Smith, running back Najee Harris, and offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood have unfinished business at Alabama. Their returns are a spark for a revenge season to LSU and Auburn and the chase for another National title.
Alabama 2019 Season Review:
ORLANDO, FL – JANUARY 01: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide tosses oranges to his players following a win against the Michigan Wolverines in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium on January 1, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. Alabama defeated Michigan 35-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)