Alabama regrouping defensively after shaky SEC start

Alabama photo by Kent Gidley / Alabama safety Xavier McKinney (15) and outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings (33) struggled at times last Saturday to contain Ole Miss freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who rushed 25 times for 109 yards in the Crimson Tide's 59-31 win.

Alabama is 5-0 and No. 1 in the national rankings entering its first open date of the college football season.

That's nothing new.

What is different about this year's Crimson Tide is a defense that is 38th in yards allowed among Football Bowl Subdivision teams, and that's amid the easier portion of a schedule that includes the annual November dates against LSU and Auburn. Alabama resumes play Oct. 12 with a visit to Texas A&M, which also has this weekend off.

"This will be a great opportunity to get better," senior defensive end Raekwon Davis said. "It's not about what the other teams are doing. It's about what we're doing. There is a lack of focus, and we're not executing plays. We're not tackling well, and penalties are killing us.

"We lost contain on the quarterback several times in this last game, and little mistakes like that definitely shouldn't happen."