Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Alabama freshman defensive lineman cited as a potential difference maker against Tennessee

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By far the biggest challenge Alabama’s defense will face during the 2022 regular season will come in Week 7, when the Crimson Tide travel to Knoxville to face off against Hendon Hooker and the high-profile Tennessee offense – one that will be in Yards per game and #1 ranks #7 in yards per game. While Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers is the biggest threat in the bag, Hooker’s dual threat presence will force the entire defense to change tiers to a dime and keep their heads on a swivel.

When it comes to who might be critical in stopping Hooker and the rushed volunteers’ offense, Roman Harper, SEC network host and former Alabama Crimson Tide security guard, mentioned freshman Jaheim Oatis during a March 12 segment. October announcing the third Saturday in October 2022 a possible game-changing stopper on Saturday October 15th.

“The only player I think will be even more important to the Alabama defense this week is a young freshman named Jaheim Oatis,” Harper said. “This guy is big and he definitely has a lot of responsibilities (and) he’s going to play a big part in stopping the run and making Tennessee more one-dimensional. That will allow the pass rushers to chase this guy a little bit more and you can tighten the screws on the outside.”

Roman Harper not only believes Tennessee’s running back room and Hendon Hooker must be contained on the ground, but he believes the bag must be quickly collapsed to limit any openings for the volunteers to do airborne damage.

“Alabama’s defense needs to get some pressure. That’s where it’s going to start,” Harper said during the Oct. 12 issue of SEC Now. “They have three really good pass rushers [Chris] Braswell, Dallas Turner, who you just spoke to, and of course, Will Anderson, the Terminator.”

After Jalen Milroe, Alabama’s backup signal caller, was more than doubled by Texas A&M quarterback Haynes King in passing yards on Oct. 8, the Crimson Tide defense must do whatever it takes to get the ball as far out of Hooker’s hands as possible keep.

Former NFL offensive lineman Aaron Taylor highlighted his position on why he wants to pick Tennessee with “everything in (his) body” during an appearance College Football by CBS Sports today.

Taylor gave props to the Tennessee defense in the process, giving up 60 points to Florida and Pitt to rank them as the No. 87 overall defense while winning the third Saturday of October 2022 for Alabama. “The key to this game for Alabama is going to be their offensive line whether Alabama is playing or not,” Taylor said. “Tennessee’s defense is better than I think a lot of people think. They are second in the conference when it comes to stopping the run. … Whether it’s (Jalen) Milroe or (Bryce) Young, those guys up front have got to get the job done, if they have something to play they stay away because if they turn it over, Tennessee will know what to do with it.

If Bryce Young is fit for a critical rivalry play, the offensive line will have a duty to keep him sane. Jalen Milroe’s propensity to call his own number eases the pressure on a unit that has been seen as the single sore point leaving Alabama vulnerable in a potential matchup against Georgia in the SEC championship game and/or the college football playoffs.

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