Alabama Arkansas State

Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings (33) pressures Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen (15) In first half action at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday September 8, 2018.

TUSCALOOSA — Satellites can spot Raekwon Davis from space. So imagine how the Arkansas State offensive line felt Saturday.

Davis stands 6-foot-7, weighs north of 300 pounds and looks, body-wise, more like a sleek NBA lottery pick than a bulked up future NFL first-rounder.

He’s one of two returning starters for Alabama, and even he comes with an asterisk because his first-team experience is limited. That’s why there are legitimate questions whether this Alabama defense can live up to the standards of its predecessors.

Common sense says no -- not with so many new faces, even on the coaching staff.

So we’ll go on the record now. This won’t be Alabama’s best defense under Nick Saban. Just don’t tell the Red Wolves.

In Alabama’s 57-7 rout of the prohibitive Sun Belt Conference favorite, the Crimson Tide defense merely dominated.

Surely, Saban will find plenty of room for improvement, but an offense that surpassed the six-touchdown mark a half dozen times last season spent most of Saturday wandering aimlessly in the heat of Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Justice Hansen is the Sun Belt’s best gunslinger. The Arkansas State quarterback threw two touchdown passes – one that Alabama’s Saivion Smith took 38 yards the other way on a pick-six.

Against Alabama’s front seven, including the LeBron-esque Davis, he had little time to plant his feet.

Yes, there will be tougher tests on the horizon, including next Saturday’s road trip to Ole Miss, for this defense. But if anyone expected Alabama to take a precipitous step back, they may be due a huge letdown.

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