Running game fuels Tide’s passing

While Auburn’s newfangled spread offense stinks and Florida’s high octane Tim Tebow sputtered Saturday, the Alabama offense is leading the conference and among the best in the nation.

Yes. Alabama is leading the conference in scoring offense and rushing offense. When was the last time we could say that? The Tide is fourth in total offense and 11th in passing offense. Here’s the breakdown of how SEC teams compare:


OFFENSE

 
Team                Rush   Pass  Total   Scoring
Alabama               1     11     4        1 
Arkansas             12      2     7        9 
Auburn                8     10    10       10 
Florida               9      6     5       T2 
Georgia               7      1     2        4 
Kentucky              5      8     6        5 
LSU                   2      3     1       T2 
Ole Miss              4      5     3        6 
Mississippi State    11      7    11       12 
South Carolina       10      4     8        8 
Tennessee             6      9     9       11 
Vanderbilt            3     12    12        7

DEFENSE

Team                Rush   Pass  Total   Scoring
Alabama               1      9     6        5 
Arkansas             12      7    11       12 
Auburn                6      4     4        2 
Florida               5      2     3        3 
Georgia               2     11     8        9 
Kentucky              4      5     2        1 
LSU                   3      8     7        6 
Ole Miss              9     10     9       11 
Mississippi State    11      3    10       10 
South Carolina        8      1     1        4 
Tennessee             7      6     5        8 
Vanderbilt           10     12    12        7 


Alabama is rushing for 215.2 yards per game with an average of 5.2 yards per carry. Alabama is scoring 37 points per game ahead of second place Florida and LSU; the Florida and LSU average 35.5 points per game.

The Tide’s passing game hasn’t generated the headlines or heady statistics of the running game; however, the passing game was good enough to earn Alabama’s John Parker Wilson the honor of being SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Wilson’s performance against Georgia was impressive. He was 13-16 for 205 yards and a touchdown. He completed his first seven passes and he set the new Alabama career passing yardage record.

Not a bad night against any team.

It is an amazing night when those statistics were notched over the preseason number one team.

So what is the difference between this offense and past year’s for Wilson and the Alabama offense? The running game.

“It’s so much easier. The first two years I was here, we couldn’t run the ball at all,” Wilson said. “This year we are establishing the running game and establishing it up front and it’s making everything else easier. It’s making our whole team better.”

Alabama’s all-everything left tackle Andre Smith said Alabama is having such strong success during the first quarter (when it outscores opponents 74-0) due to the off-season program.

“I believe it’s from the off-season workout program,” Smith said. “(Strength and Conditioning) Coach (Scott) Cochran and his staff really put into us to always start fast and finish strong. It’s really showing on the football field.”

For the first time you’ve got everyone in condition and pulling in the same direction. The players believe in what they are doing—including the offensive scheme.

“You see some stuff with people running everything,” Wilson said. “We have a solid offense and it’s been solid for however long it’s been run. We feel good about it. We feel good about the plays we have and the guys we have running them. The confidence is the biggest thing.”

Confidence. The players aren’t the only one with confidence in what Alabama is doing. The fans have it too.

When was the last time fans truly had confidence in the Alabama program?

It feels good. Doesn’t it?

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