By: Larry Burton
Here’s something we’ll try online to our readers. If you have a question you’d like an answer to that I can answer, not that I may be able to answer them all, then ask. You can reach me ask by private message or in the comment section below for the next article in this series.
Since I’ve already some people contact me, here are some of their questions with the answers as I see them. Remember, this is my opinion of the answers and it is not the opinion of this magazine, the University of Alabama or the editors and fellow writers.
1. What’s wrong with the offense?
A. Well I’ll admit they looked underwhelming to me also last weekend, but there are several reasons they weren’t as bad as they looked. First of all, they didn’t have the opportunity to get into any kind of rhythm early on last week.
Think about it. The offense stands on the sidelines waiting to come on for their first series and Christion Jones returns the punt for a TD. Now, sit back down and wait some more while the defense goes back out there.
Then they do get the ball and go five plays and out, before going 49 yards for a score. The offense only had the ball 2 times in the first quarter!
Then in the second quarter, they had three real drive attempts, but only ran 16 plays before killing the clock for halftime. That’s hardly a way to get into some kind of good rhythm.
In the second half, Saban didn’t try and run the score up passing, choosing instead to work on the running game to kill the clock and give the offense a chance to work on an eight man in the box scenario for most of the day. When a deep pass play was called it went for a TD.
There were other factors such as the offensive line getting used to one another, the Va. Tech defense coming at the offensive linemen in a “side way” movement that confused them for a bit and other factors. But the main things was the fact Saban and company just kept running into an eight man box and they didn’t have the chance to shine.
So in reality, the offense wasn’t as bad as it may have looked.
2. If Alabama’s offense is this sluggish against A&M, explain why we won’t get killed?
First of all, it won’t be this sluggish because we may not get those kick, punt and interception returns for touchdowns so quickly that we can “call off the dogs”. You can expect to see more pass attempts for one thing. In the last game, McCarron only attempted 21 passes as Saban had called the dogs off, but against A&M last year, McCarron threw for over 300 yards 34 attempts.
Sometimes you look “sluggish” because of the opponent you play. Va. Tech may not be the Va. Tech of old, but their defense was very good and very well coached. By comparison, Rice ripped Texas A&M last week for 31 points and 306 yards rushing. Do you really think Rice has a better offense than Alabama? Seriously?
Plus, as good as A&M is, they won’t hold Alabama to the low rushing totals that Va. Tech did. The running game won’t look near as “sluggish”. Since the A&M game last year, the Aggie defense lost some key defensive folks and their replacements don’t look up to the same level play yet, so the A&M defense could have a long day.
The Texas A&M offense however, is up to speed and they will move the ball and put points on the board, but they won’t be able to stop the Tide from scoring more with the problems they’ll face on defense.
3. What’s your outlook of the Texas A&M going to be?
If I could jump in my time machine and watch the replay, I’d expect to see the following:
Alabama rushes for about 185 yards and that opens up the passing game where McCarron again throws for over 300 yards. Last week the Rice Owls had 509 yards of total offense and I expect Alabama to to do better.
Without Manziel playing the entire game, (or even half of it), they still managed 486 yards against Rice. But let’s face it, Rice’s defense won’t measure up anything close to Alabama’s at the end of the year. Last season, they put up 418 yards against the Tide and won a close game. This year, they’ll get about 400 yards of offense and that won’t be enough to match Bama’s 500+.
Final Score? Something around Alabama 35-24 to 32-17.
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter