What we learned from Alabama’s ugly win over Florida

No. 1 Alabama survived a second-half surge by the Florida Gators on Saturday, winning the contest 31-29.

Alabama jumped to a 21-3 lead in the first quarter, but Florida outscored the Tide 26-10 over the last three quarters.

There are many lessons to be learned from today’s game. Here are five.

Alabama’s interior defensive line needs to improve

DJ Dale (4) of the Alabama Crimson Tide recovers a fumble in the first half by Feleipe Franks #13 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on Dec. 12, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Alabama defense gave up 245 yards rushing against the Gators on Saturday, something Alabama is not accustomed to doing. Florida averaged 5.7 yards per carry on 43 attempts.

The interior of Alabama’s defensive line couldn’t get any movement in the beginning, which allowed the Gators and Gators to accumulate the rushing yards and tighten up the game late.

DJ Dale and Tim Smith need to perform better in order for the Alabama defense to be more effective against the run.

Alabama needs to establish a consistent running game

Sept. 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) runs with the ball against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t just on the running backs. This is not just for the running backs. Alabama must be more consistent on the line-of-scrimmage and the backs should hit the hole with conviction whenever the hole is present.

I’m not suggesting that the running game should be extraordinary, but it needs to be more consistent.

Bryce Young needs to be willing to use his legs

Sept. 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

All things considered Bryce Young has been fantastic for the Tide through the first three games of the season. Bryce has thrown for 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the young season.

Let me give Bryce a slight critique. Bryce should use his running ability to stretch drives more effectively. Bryce has had many opportunities over the past three games to tuck and run for a first down, or in this case, for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Bill O’Brien, the offensive coordinator, can help Bryce adapt to whatever defense offers him.

The drops have to stop from the wide receivers

Sept. 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver John Metchie III (8) runs with the ball against the Florida Gators during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Alabama offense has been really inconsistent to start to the season. This could be due to some of the dropped passes by John Metchie and Slade Bolden, as well as Jameson Williams.

To beat great teams you have to not drop passes.

The team needs find their killer instinct

Sept. 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban before the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the most puzzling part about this team is its lack of killer instinct. Alabama beat Miami in the first quarter, but the team did not win the game.

In today’s game, Alabama held a 21-3 lead after the first quarter, but could not put the game away. Alabama must find its killer instinct if it wants to win a championship.

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