Published October 3, 2012 - 2:45pm
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On ESPN CFB Daily this week, Barrett Jones was asked what his team’s biggest weakness is that needs to be addressed over the bye week. He stuttered through a couple words and finally added, “Execute better”.
Following a 33-14 thumping of Ole Miss in front of the Bryant-Denny home crowd, it might be hard to find a weakness or an aspect to improve upon. What is Alabama’s weakness?
Several teams in the SEC boast an undefeated record, but Bama may be the most complete outfit in the country, certainly in the SEC.
A balanced offense? Against Ole Miss, Alabama rushed 35 times and attempted 33 passes. The Tide totaled 305 yards, with 180 through the air and 125 on the ground. The Tide defense picked off a total of three passes, two on consecutive drives after Ole Miss took the 7-6 early lead.
“That was the turning point in the game,” Saban said. “We really only put one true drive together. Those turnovers were really the difference in the game.”
For the season, Alabama has run a total of 316 plays, with 199 running plays and 117 passes plays.
How is Alabama in the position they’re in? Nick Saban of course, but let’s venture outside of Nick Saban and look at three other reasons why they are on top of the college football world in 2012:
1. Doug Nussmeier: When Jim McElwain took the Colorado State job, Nick Saban knew it was imperative to find a top-notch offensive coordinator who could develop AJ McCarron in the process. The job Nussmeier has done with McCarron being a bigger contributor in the offense has been fantastic. McCarron has thrown for 999 yards and 12 touchdowns without throwing one interception the entire season. When called upon, McCarron has been fantastic. Nussmeier has McCarron looking more comfortable and confident in the pocket. Much of it has to do with McCarron, but Nussmeier is the unsung hero in all of it.
2. Offensive Line: We knew Alabama would have a very good offensive line, returning four starters, with the new guy, Cyrus Kounadjio, having a chance to be better than the four returners. Barrett Jones anchors the line, and he’s played three different positions in three years – guard, tackle and center. Chance Warmack is likely the best guard in all of college football, and the two massive offensive tackles – DJ Fluker and Cyrus Kouandjio – are playing great. McCarron has literally all day to sit in the pocket and find an open receiver. Bama is currently sixth in the SEC in rushing yardage per game (188.2) without having a prolific back on the roster. Adequate? Yes. Prolific? No. This group anchors and sets the tone of the entire team.
3. Recruiting To The Process: We know Saban has a process. Hell, everyone in the SEC, as well as several schools around the country, are virtually in some way running Saban’s process, and a huge part of that is recruiting to the process. Saban not only gets the best talent, but he develops the better talent into the best players in the country. Yeah, he gets five-star players, but, for the most part, those players are mostly on offense. However, you rarely hear about blue-chip prospects getting in trouble or being busts at Alabama. Saban gets the most out of his players, and it all starts with recruiting.
The one thing Alabama does lack this season is a prolific pass rusher. The last few seasons it was Courtney Upshaw. That’s the only one glaring hole at Alabama for the moment. And Alabama hopes Adrian Hubbard can develop into that player.