Showcasing Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of Alabama Football
After winning the national championship last season, No. 1 Alabama has rolled to a 5-0 start in 2012, including a 41-14 dismantling of then-No. 8 Michigan in Week 1.
As the Crimson Tide get set to face Missouri on Oct. 13, midseason is about that time to start breaking down the team.
You certainly can't complain about the offense or the defense at this point in the season, but there are some areas in need of improvement for Alabama nonetheless.
Let's take a look at the Crimson Tide's strengths and weaknesses this season.
Junior quarterback A.J. McCarron has had a fantastic season so far, completing nearly 66 percent of his passes for 9.0 yards per attempt while tossing 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The receiving corps has also been explosive, with five different players totaling at least 100 receiving yards so far. Freshman wideout Amari Cooper leads all receivers with 222 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Alabama has averaged 4.7 yards per carry this season and reached the end zone 10 times. Junior Eddie Lacy (314 yards, four touchdowns) and freshman T.J. Yeldon (292 yards, two touchdowns) have been the big rushers for the Crimson Tide.
Not only have opposing quarterbacks completed just 52.7 percent of their passes against Alabama, they've averaged 4.9 yards per attempt while throwing two touchdowns to nine interceptions through five games. Alabama is tied for the lead in interceptions in the SEC.
The Crimson Tide also rank 10th in the nation in sacks, per cfbstats.com.
Alabama has allowed just 2.0 yards per carry so far this season, the best in the nation. That includes allowing only three rushing touchdowns.
The Crimson Tide held Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson to 27 yards rushing on 10 carries in Week 1 and ceded just 59 yards on 20 carries to Knile Davis in the 52-0 blowout of Arkansas.
It's bad enough that Alabama's offense has been rolling to the tune of 40.2 points per game. When the Crimson Tide average 31.5 yards per kickoff return (tied for fourth in the nation), that's just not fair.
Sophomore wideout Christion Jones leads the team with 167 yards and a touchdown on five returns.
Alabama has curiously fumbled the ball 10 times so far this season—tied for 94th in the FBS—but has been able to get away with only three turnovers from those fumbles.
Of course, the Crimson Tide have forced eight fumbles themselves.
If you can somehow pin the Alabama deep into its own territory, then you have a better chance of scoring against the team.
Junior Cody Mandell is averaging 42.3 yards per punt, which is about middle-of-the-road in the FBS. The ironic thing is this is actually an improvement over last season's numbers for Mandell (38.8 average).
Again, I am nitpicking, but the Crimson Tide aren't an elite team in the punting category.
The Crimson Tide no longer have receiver Marquis Maze, so it was only expected that they wouldn't be as good in punt returning.
Christion Jones is averaging 10.9 yards per punt return, middle of the pack in the nation, and he has yet to bring one back for a touchdown.
By comparison, Maze averaged 13.2 yards per punt return in 2011.
Kickoff Return/Punt Return Defense
Alabama is ranked 45th in the nation in yards allowed per kickoff return (19.81), per cfbstats.com. The Crimson Tide are also ranked 60th in yards allowed per punt return (four for 28 yards), via cfbstats.com.
On the other hand, the Crimson Tide haven't allowed a touchdown in any of these areas so it's not a big issue for the team as of yet.
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