Alabama Looks To Work Out "Kinks" Before Starting SEC Play

james morrisonContributor ISeptember 15, 2009

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Running back Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide takes a handoff from quarterback Greg McElroy #12 against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 5, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Crimson Tide face their last non-conference opponent before starting their SEC schedule. This is Alabama's last chance to either work out the "kinks" with the offense and fine tune the defense that was so dominant last season.

The Crimson Tide offense has been very effective up to this point. They rushed for over 250 yards and passed for over 200 yards in route to putting up 34 points against one of the nations best defenses to start out the 2009 season. They followed that performance up with another 40 point, 250+ yard rushing, and 200+ passing yard effort against an FIU team that is steadily getting better each year, but is definitely no Va. Tech. Nonetheless, Alabama will try to fix the mistakes, if any, that they have on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line, which was thought to be a rebuilding area, has done a great job of giving McElroy time to get rid of the ball and hit his second and third options. The wide receivers have stepped up to take the load off of Julio Jones as well. In fact, Jones hasn't led the team in receiving either game thus far and has less yardage then four other receivers on the team(Maze, 57, Hanks, 66, Ingram, 82, and McCoy, 100). The rushing attack has averaged 270 yards a game and freshman Trent Richardson has already made an impact by rushing for 120 yards and 2 scores.

The defense has improved it's pass rushing ability making them more dangerous than last year. Already this year they have 10 sacks and have terrorized both offenses they have faced. Virginia Tech only had 75 yards rushing against them and FIU barely managed a yard against this stout front. They do need a little help against the pass. They held the Hokies to 150 yards but gave up 213 yards to the panthers. This could hurt them when they come up against teams with better air attacks like Ole Miss and possibly Florida, in the SEC Championship game. Penalties were another big area needing work for the Tide. They did a little better against FIU only being penalized 65 yards on 7 flags. However, they had 10 penalties for 83 yards against Va. Tech and star linebacker Rolando McClain was almost tossed due to an outburst that earned him a personal foul. Penalties should be easily fixed when it counts the most, inter-league play.

Special teams is one area that a blind man could see room for improvement. Alabama has already allowed 2 kick returns for touchdowns and given up chunks of yardage that has put the opposition in great field position and put the defense in strenuous situations. Javier Arenas will have his great runs this season for sure, but if Alabama doesn't stop the opposition from getting these chunks of yardage it could cost them a game or two.