22 September 2008
Alabama's 49 points were the most in an SEC game since 1990, and the most in the SEC on the road since 1989. So obviously the offense did a lot of things well. They did get 14 points directly from the defense, and were set up for another TD by an interception, so the total number of points was not solely due to the offense.
It's tough to judge a QB on a day where he only had to throw 14 passes. John Parker Wilson has been praised by Nick Saban for how he managed the game, and I think the fans are glossing over that too much. When you only have 14 opportunities in a game to make something happen it is very tough to establish any type of rhythm. Aside from his second pass of the game, he didn't force anything; something that tends to happen to QBs when they aren't given many opportunities.
Of his 14 attempts, two were thrown away to avoid a sack and one was dropped. Ending up six of 11 wouldn't exactly have made the day seem electrifying for John Parker, but the percentage would have looked much nicer.
His pass to Earl Alexander on Bama's first drive might have been his best pass of the season, threading the ball into Earl down to the six yard line. His touchdown pass to Julio Jones was also a very solid pass, leading Julio the right amount to give the freshman a chance to make something happen after the catch.
He was three of six on third down for 30 yards, including the TD pass to Jones.
Greg McElroy only attempted one pass, and it was a poor one. He never looked away from Marquis Maze (yes, I know John Parker struggles with this, too) and it was an easy interception for Arkansas.
The last time Alabama payed at Georgia it took three quarterbacks to finish the game. Let's hope the Tide has better luck in Athens this week.
Bama racked up 328 yards (9.4 per attempt) and four touchdowns between its four running backs. Throw in long runs of 87, 62, and 31 and the Tide rushing attack was explosive for the first time this season.
Glen Coffee dispelled all concerns about his inability to be a "big play" back. His 87 yard run on Bama's second offensive possession essentially ended the game in a similar way that Shaud Williams's 80 yard TD on Bama's first play in 2001 more or less ended Bama's last win in Fayetteville.
It wasn't just one big play for Glen, though. He totalled 75 yards on his other nine carries, ending the game with 10 carries for 162 yards and two touchdowns. An average of 16.2 yards per carry will be perfectly fine in every game, thank you. He showed not only a new explosiveness, but a cut back ability that got him into the clear on both of his touchdown runs.
Mark Ingram continued to be Bama's short yardage back. He got the carries down near the goal line and powered in his fourth touchdown of the season. It looks as though the coaches are going to be careful with Mark and limit his carries somewhat. That's not a bad idea at all for a freshman, especially one who has the potential to be a star over the next three years. Six carries for 53 yards, an average of 8.8 per carry, is fantastic.
The elated scream of joy that you heard mid way through the fourth quarter might possibly have come from our own Crump when Roy Upchurch broke his 62 yard touchdown run. It was a pretty spectacular play, he made two different Hog defenders look silly before using his speed to out-run pursuit.
Don't be surprised to see Roy get more responsibility in the next few weeks. He is Bama's best back against the blitz right now, and seems to do a lot of the little things that the coaching staff likes. Throw in seven carries for 91 yards (13 per carry) and a touchdown and you've got the makings of a guy that will likely see more action.
Terry Grant just doesn't look right. I would lay that on the off season surgery, but he looked great on A-Day. I'm not sure the reason, but he routinely ends up having at least one run in every game where he gets dropped for a decent sized loss. In all he only ended up averaging 3.2 yards per carry on his 10 rushes and 2.5 yards on his two receptions. For a guy who is supposed to be Bama's "big play" threat, he is struggling mightily at this point.
Receivers and Tight Ends
A look at the stat sheet will not give you an idea of how successful this group was on Saturday. They only combined for four receptions, but their main priority was blocking. Any time that you end up with long runs the way that Bama did on Saturday, the receivers are going to be a major part of that.
Julio Jones only had one reception, but it went for his third touchdown. It was an impressive play in which he broke two tackles after making the catch, showing the same strength that got him into the end zone last weekend, as well. While it was only one catch, it did keep alive his streak of at least one in every game.
Earl Alexander is beginning to work his way into the swing of things. He had two receptions, including the one mentioned above, that got Bama down inside the ten yard line. It was a tough catch, in traffic, in which he used his big frame to shield the defender from the ball.
Nick Walker pulled in one pass, giving him a reception in every game, as well. He actually had a second catch, but it was wiped out on a play that included off-setting penalties.
It is well worth mentioning the names of Travis McCall, Mike McCoy, Will Oakley, Nikita Stover, and Chris Jackson as they all had key blocks on one of Bama's three long touchdown runs. The Tide staff has put a premium on blocking by receivers, and this was the game where we saw that come to fruition.
It is likely that this group will likely be more involved next week, but it was impressive to me that they had the discipline to stay involved despite not seeing passes. This is the type of team oriented and disciplined play that Nick Saban has talked about.
Wow. Bama had 402 yards on just 50 snaps, an average of eight yards per play. These guys totally dominated the line of scrimmage, giving the backs plenty of room to run.
For the second consecutive game the Tide got to empty the bench. Bama played seven reserve offensive linemen, with only Tyler Love and Alfred McCullough not seeing action among the scholarship guys. I thought that I saw Love out there, but the participation chart from the game says otherwise.
More importantly, for the first time since mid way through the Clemson game Bama's 1st unit got to play intact as a group. Other than a blown blitz pick up by Marlon Davis, they were just about flawless. Most of the damage was done behind the left side of the line, which is what you would expect with Andre Smith and Mike Johnson on that side.
I'm sure Glenn55 will give us a more detailed look at these guys, but for now all you need to know is that they dominated.