Alabama Football 2011: Why Did the 2010 Team Go 10-3?

Kevin McGradySenior Writer IJanuary 24, 2011

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Greg McElroy #12 of the Alabama Crimson Tide smiles after winning the Capitol One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Some fans have wondered what happened to the 2010 Crimson Tide team that so much was expected of by the major pundits. It was not a bad year for the team as they only lost three games and finished with a big win over a good team. There seems to be a feeling of disappointment lingering over what could have been.

The Crimson Tide had one of their best teams in the history of the program in 2009. That team of destiny was not to be beaten and denied the first BCS Championship for the program. With all the talent that had been assembled, many expected the 2010 team to be even better.

The 2010 Alabama team likely had the most talented offense in the history of the team. Huge strides were expected as the team seemed destined for greatness. How did that 2010 offense compare to the 2009 offense that won the BCS Championship?

A Statistical Comparison of the 2009 and 2010 Crimson Tide Offenses


2009 Offense

2010 Offense

Rushing Offense Per Game

215.07 yards

189.82 yards

Rushing Offense Total

3011 yards

2378 yards




Passing Offense Per Game

187.93 yards

261.15 yards

Passing Offense Total

2631 yards

3395 yards




Total Offense Per Game

403 yards

444.04 yards

Total Offense

5642 yards

5773 yards




Scoring Offense Per Game

32.07 points

35.69 points

Total Scoring Offense

449 points

464 points




Passing Efficiency






Punt Returns Average

15.05 yards

12.46 yards

Punt Returns Total

587 yards

349 yards




Kick Returns Average

23.32 yards

24.65 yards

Kick Returns Total

793 yards

986 yards




Sacks Allowed Per Game



Sacks Allowed Total






Tackles For Loss Allowed



Third Down Conversion Percentage

39.18 percent

44.67 percent




Red Zone Offense

86 percent

84 percent

Red Zone Touchdowns



Red Zone Field Goals






Total Yardage

7022 yards

7108 yards

The Alabama offense did improve in the majority of statistical categories in 2009. They produced more total yards and points in 13 games than the 2009 offense did in 14 games. There were some areas of concern though.

The 2010 offense allowed about the same amount of tackles for loss in 13 games as the 2009 squad did in 14. It gets worse though. The 2009 squad allowed 66 tackles for a loss while running 601 rushing plays. The 2010 offense allowed 67 tackles for loss while running only 467 rushing plays.

In 2010 the Alabama offensive line allowed 32 sacks in 362 pass attempts. The 2009 offensive line allowed 20 sacks in 346 passing attempts. This is a huge falloff in production.

It would appear the failure of the 2010 Alabama offense to meet expectations was anchored along the line. Some of this was likely due to increased performance by opponent’s defenses with a tougher schedule, but not all. It is clear that offensive line performance must improve if Alabama is to have another year like 2009.


A Statistical Comparison of the 2009 and 2010 Alabama Defenses


2009 Alabama Defense

2010 Alabama Defense

Rushing Defense Per Game

78.14 yards

110.15 yards

Rushing Defense Total

1094 yards

1432 yards




Pass Defense Per Game

166 yards

176.23 yards

Pass Defense Total

2324 yards

2291 yards




Scoring Defense Per Game

11.71 points

13.54 points

Scoring Defense Total

164 points

176 points




Tackles For Loss Per Game



Tackles For Loss Total






Sacks Per Game



Sacks Total






Kick Returns Allowed Average

25.06 yards

21.42 yards

Kick Returns Allowed Total

2005 yards

1628 yards




Punt Returns Allowed Average

9.18 yards

6.4 yards

Punt Returns Allowed Total

156 yards

64 yards




Red Zone Defense

67 percent

67 percent

Touchdowns Allowed



Field Goals Allowed






Total Yards Allowed

5579 yards

5415 yards

The Alabama defense actually performed better than expected with so little experience. The 2010 squad actually allowed similar total yardage and only two more points per game against much tougher offensive opponents.

Overall, the 2010 Alabama team outperformed the 2009 Alabama team statistically. The 2010 team had a 1693 yard advantage over opponents. The 2009 team had only a 1443 yard advantage over opponents. The offense scored on average three more points per game for the 2010 team while allowing only two more points per game on defense.

The 2010 Alabama team was likely a victim of their opposition improving more than they did.


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