Alabama vs. Texas A&M: Crimson Tide's Offensive Line Will Determine Their Fate

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IISeptember 14, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 31:  Nigel Williams #95 of the Virginia Tech Hokies sacks AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Georgia Dome on August 31, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Alabama Crimson Tide aren't as good as they were in 2012, but almost all of that is on their offensive line.

If Nick Saban and Co. want to win their rematch against the Texas A&M Aggies, the O-line is going to need to look a lot better than they did in their 35-10 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies.

That 25-point win was misleading, at least in regards to how well their offense played.  The team was carried by some terrific play by the defense and special teams.  

On defense, the Tide held the Hokies to just 212 yards of total offense.  Logan Thomas went just 5-of-26 for 59 yards and one interception.  His QBR was just 1.9 according to  Vinnie Sunseri was able to take the Thomas interception 38 yards for a touchdown. 

Christion Jones was huge for Alabama on special teams.  He had three total touchdowns, with two coming from big-time kick and punt returns.

The offense on the other hand didn't look nearly as good.

The Hokies didn't have a good day on offense, yet they still produced more yards on offense.  Alabama had just 206 total yards, and everything just looked ugly.  A.J. McCarron went 10-of-23 with 110 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  

The run game was ugly as well for Alabama.  The team as a whole ran for 96 yards, but averaged just 2.5 yards per carry.  T.J. Yeldon ran for 75 yards, but if you take out his longest run of 27 yards, he averaged just 3.0 yards per carry.

What does all of this mean?  The offensive line is not in sync.

The Crimson Tide are playing with three new faces on the offensive line.  They lost three top-tier linemen in Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker.  

All three players were All-Americans during their time in college, but Jones was the biggest loss.  He was a three-time All-American at three different positions, playing tackle, guard and center during his time at Alabama.  He was the one that always made pre-snap reads for the offensive line, and with him gone, defenses could take advantage of of the more inexperienced linemen.

Texas A&M doesn't have the best defense in the nation, but they could still put the pressure on McCarron and that offensive line.  Players like Steven Jenkins and Nate Askew will have to step up and find ways to get to McCarron.

That being said, the Aggies' defense hasn't been that impressive in their first two games.  They've played two weaker teams in Sam Houston State and Rice, but both offenses were able to make some plays.

Rice in particular didn't look that bad, but then again they have a mobile quarterback in Taylor McHargue.  McCarron is certainly a pocket passer and won't take off and run like Mcargue did against Texas A&M.  

That lack of mobility from McCarron could help A&M's defense get pressure on him.

McCarron was sacked four times in the season opener, and the Aggies will need to keep the pressure on him to make this a one-dimensional offense.  The run game didn't look strong against the Hokies for the Tide, and that could be a problem again if the Aggies make this a predictable offense.

This is a new offensive line that the Tide are working with, but they didn't look good in their opener.  If that doesn't turn around quickly, the Tide could be looking at their first loss, and their national title hopes could be in jeopardy early in the season.