Tennessee football: Getting to know Alabama from a Tide expert

Everybody knows how good the Alabama Crimson Tide are, but with their dominance over Tennessee football the past 15 years, they may approach this game with a different perspective. There’s also more to know about this team specifically outside of Bryce Young’s injury.

Here at All for Tennessee, we caught up with the experts at fellow FanSided site Bama Hammer to discuss the Tide and what the season and this game will be like for them. This is what they had to say about Tennessee football’s upcoming opponent.

1. Alabama is enjoying the longest winning streak in this series for either team. Do Tide fans still treat Tennessee football as a rivalry and value beating them? Is anybody in Tuscaloosa embracing the fact that this game is finally relevant again?

The perspective is, as you described, based on age. For mid-forties and up, hatred for Phil Fulmer will never dissipate. Even with that rancor, I think some of us believe the SEC is better when the Vols are good. The fact later SEC games matter more to the Crimson Tide’s Playoff intentions (arrogantly, we don’t call them hopes) should mean a loss to the Vols would matter less.

I have great respect for the history between the programs and know Robert Neyland was one of the greatest of all-time.

2. How healthy is Bryce Young? Even if he can go Saturday, could his injury be a factor in his performance? What’s the strategy if Jalen Milroe has to go?

Those that know will never say. I expect him to start. My guess is he is not much below 100%, but a hit to his shoulder could quickly change that. Milroe, if not affected by jitters, is better than he showed against TAMU. No Bryce would make the Tide more run dependent, but hopefully not too much so.

3. Outside of Young being hurt, what’s the biggest reason for Alabama’s offensive struggles against Texas A&M and Texas?

If I knew that I could probably get a coaching job (not really). Certainly, wide receiver has been a Tide weakness. That can be seen by how much freshmen wideouts have played. They are much better (along with more experienced wideouts) since the Texas game. Even without Bryce, without the four turnovers, Alabama would have beaten TAMU by three touchdowns.

4. Nick Saban loves to talk about rat poison. This week, could there be a reverse effect of that with so many national analysts betting against Alabama?

Maybe. I expect the focus has been good in preparation. I don’t think it will be a major factor.

5. What’s the one thing Alabama can do to make sure the Vols have no shot at an upset?

Tennessee is too good for one thing being enough. Pressure on Hooker will be important, as will establishing a running game to provide offensive balance. I suspect both turnover margin and penalties will be keys.

6. What is the Vols’ biggest matchup advantage this weekend that could propel them to an upset if they exploit it properly? 

No disrespect to Tennessee is intended, but when Alabama loses games, it is almost always what the Crimson Tide has done to beat itself. There have been a few exceptions to that claim, but I think it will hold on Saturday.

It is true that Tennessee football will need Alabama to not play up to its capabilities to have a chance in this game. However, the Tide have shown a propensity to do that in recent weeks, and they are banged up, so the possibility isn’t as insane as you might think.