Alabama QB AJ McCarron
Alabama has built its current college football dynasty with the defense as its foundation.
Not a bad idea, obviously. After all, head coach Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to previously unimaginable heights in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era.
But a funny thing happened along the way—Alabama's offense got good...really good.
While all of the focus in the SEC was on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Alabama's offense methodically got the job done in the nation's top college football conference en route to posting the SEC's fourth-best offense (445.5 YPG) and its third crystal football in four years.
The best is yet to come for Alabama, which is fully capable of putting up video game numbers on offense in 2013.
Sure, three of five pieces of last season's stellar offensive line are gone. But that doesn't mean that offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier's offense will stumble. It means it must adapt.
Judging from Saturday's scrimmage, it's adapting just fine.
Quarterback AJ McCarron competed 15-of-28 passes for 291 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, while DeAndrew White and Amari Cooper combined for 10 catches for 252 receiving yards and three touchdown catches in statistics provided by Alabama.
"We had some guys that did very well out there," Saban said after the scrimmage in quotes released by the university. "AJ [McCarron} did a good job, and Blake Sims really did a good job. The runners did a really good job and we had a couple receivers do a good job."
That sound you hear is the other 13 defensive coordinators in the SEC ducking for cover.
Sure there always seems to be one scrimmage per spring where the offense explodes, but that's not the case with this Alabama team. Not in this instance, anyway. It's an indication that Alabama's offense can also use the pass to set up the run in 2013, which will be a departure from the norm for the Crimson Tide.
McCarron was on the fringe of the Heisman Trophy discussion last season despite the fact that Alabama really didn't have to pass in the second half of a lot of games. That part of the story may repeat itself in 2013; but with White, Cooper, seniors Kenny Bell and Kevin Norwood, redshirt freshman Chris Black and true freshman Robert Foster; the Crimson Tide may air it out more.
Good news for McCarron's Heisman Trophy chances, the wide receiving corps and even the running backs; who will be able to stay fresh.
The entire playbook will be at Nussmeier's disposal in 2013, which means that the second-year coordinator can open things up if he chooses to.
Where will Alabama's offense finish in total offense in the SEC in 2013?
Statistically, will Alabama finish the season with the SEC's best offense?
After all, considering the roster turnover on Texas A&M's front seven, the Aggies will probably have to put up video game numbers again.
But that doesn't mean that Alabama's offense won't be the best. It very well could be—just not statistically.
It's very subjective. The top offense statistically isn't always the best offense. The best offense is the one that is capable of controlling the game and beating opponents in a variety of ways.
In other words, Alabama.
The Crimson Tide offense has the capability to be physically punishing and explosive in 2013. That versatility could make it the most effective offense in the SEC.