It's hard to recognize Alabama through the first month of the college football season. From the sloppy game against Virginia Tech to the rough defensive performance against Texas A&M, the Tide aren't playing the way Nick Saban would like.
What's even more alarming is the offense. Even with superb players at every position, the unit is having a hard time moving the football. In case you didn't know, College GameDay would like to you remind you:
Alabama is 13th in the SEC in total offense. The Tide has only converted 11 of 33 third downs.— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 23, 2013
It's pretty bad when Tennessee is the only offense in the SEC that is worse than Alabama. This is the same offense that has a Heisman candidate for a quarterback in AJ McCarron, a running back in T.J. Yeldon who turned heads as a freshman and a wide receiver in Amari Cooper who is one of the best at his position.
Will Alabama's offense improve?
Although the defense got a lot of the props for last year's title run, the offense was averaging a cool 445 yards per game and converting nearly 48 percent of its third-down attempts. Forget the conversion percentage, it's quite alarming that the Tide have already attempted almost 20 percent of last year's third downs in just three games. Last year, Alabama faced only 167 third-down attempts; this season, the number is already at 33 attempts.
Now that the numbers are out of the way, Alabama fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that everything is going to be alright.
McCarron is still one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and he's completing a solid 64.1 percent of his passes. While Yeldon and Kenyan Drake have yet to break out, they're both averaging more than five yards per carry. Cooper is still trying to recover from a slow start, but receivers such as DeAndrew White, Christion Jones and freshman tight end O.J. Howard have stepped up big.
What more do you want?
The talent level of this offense is stuck on overload. So the numbers aren't where anybody would like them to be, so what? Only a month into the season, players are still ironing out the wrinkles and experiencing a few growing pains. The good thing for the team is that it's still undefeated and it still has the No. 1 overall ranking in both polls.
These players haven't forgotten how to play football overnight, and the odds of this offense remaining down in the dumps aren't very good.
The first three games last season, Alabama finished with 431, 328 and 438 total yards with an average yardage of each play above six yards. The numbers then skyrocketed, with five games of more than 500 yards, and the offense finished the final three games with an average of more than seven yards per play.
Coincidence? Not really.
Great players usually eventually come around. An entire team filled with eventual NFL players? It's impossible that the offense continues to run cold.
Bet against them if you'd like; you'll look foolish in no time.