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Alabama Football: Tuesday Notebook



Sept. 22, 2009


ALABAMA NOTEBOOK:  The latest installment of the Alabama Football Notebook takes at look at the Crimson Tide offense following the Tide’s 53-7 win over North Texas on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has scored 93 points and racked up 1,039 yards of total offense in wins over Florida International and North Texas. The UA offense is highlighted each Tuesday on

TIDE GETTING OFFENSIVE: Alabama’s offense is off to a solid start under first-year quarterback Greg McElroy. The Crimson Tide has piled up 1,537 yards of total offense this season (512.3 ypg) in wins over Virginia Tech, Florida International and North Texas. The 1,039 yards combined vs. FIU and North Texas are the most by Alabama in back-to-back games since compiling 1,104 yards in consecutive games against South Carolina (516) and UTEP (588) during the 2001 season. Alabama is coming off its best offensive output of the season, and its third- and fourth-best offensive showings in the Saban era over the past two games. The Crimson Tide had 263 passing yards and 260 rushing yards vs. North Texas after rushing for 275 yards and throwing for 241 yards against FIU. In the season opener, Alabama racked up 498 yards of total offense, the sixth-best offensive day under Saban, in 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech.

Top Offensive Games (Saban Era)
575 vs. Western Carolina (313 rushing/262 passing) - Sept. 1, 2007
557 vs. Western Kentucky (281 rushing/276 passing) - Sept. 13, 2008
523 vs. North Texas (260 rushing/263 passing) - Sept. 26, 2009
516 vs. Florida International (275 rushing/241 passing) - Sept. 12, 2009
510 vs. Tennessee (147 rushing/363 passing) - Oct. 20, 2007
498 vs. Virginia Tech (268 rushing/230 passing) - Sept. 5, 2008

Most-Total Offense in Consecutive Games (Since 2000)
1,104 vs. South Carolina (516) and UTEP (588) in 2001
1,039 vs. Florida International (516) and North Texas (523) in 2009
1,014 vs. Virginia Tech (498) and Florida International (516) in 2009
959 vs. Western Kentucky (557) and Arkansas (402) in 2008
950 vs. Mississippi State (401) and Auburn (549) in 2001
951 vs. UTEP (588) and Ole Miss (363) in 2001

RED ZONE SUCCESS: In its last two games (FIU and North Texas), Alabama has scored each time it has entered the red zone, for a perfect 12-of-12 in red-zone chances at home. The Tide has scored 18-of-20 times it has entered an opponents’ red zone this season, including 15-straight opportunities, excluding a series of plays to run out the clock against Virginia Tech.
ALABAMA’S 53 POINTS: The Crimson Tide’s 53 points in its win over North Texas last Saturday were the most during head coach Nick Saban’s tenure at the Capstone. The previous high of 52 came on Sept. 1, 2007, against Western Carolina in his first game at Alabama. Additionally, the 53 are the most scored by Alabama since beating UTEP, 56-7, on Oct. 6, 2001, at Legion Field in Birmingham. The 53 points are the most at Bryant-Denny Stadium since a 62-0 win over Tulane on Oct. 12, 1991.

FAST-STARTING TIDE: Alabama has scored on eight of its 10 first quarter possessions this season, resulting in five field goals and three touchdowns. The Crimson Tide has run 69 first quarter plays this season and totaled 449 yards against Virginia Tech, Florida International and North Texas. Alabama scored on three of four possessions against Virginia Tech in the season opener and scored on all three first quarter drives against FIU. The Tide then overcame a fumble on their first snap of the game against North Texas and quickly found the end zone on the next two drives.

McELROY KEYS FAST START: Quarterback Greg McElroy completed 10-of-11 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown in the opening quarter against North Texas. In the past two games, McElroy has completed 20-of-22 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. Two weeks ago against Florida International, McElroy completed 10-of-11 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown in the first quarter. In his last two games, McElroy has completed 25-of-28 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns during the first half. He was 12-of-14 for 157 yards and two touchdowns against North Texas. Last week against North Texas, McElroy was 13-of-15 for 202 yards and one touchdown in the first half.

A BALANCED ATTACK: The Tide has shown tremendous balance in their offensive numbers, averaging 267.7 rushing yards and 244.7 yards passing per game, which gives UA the ninth-ranked total offense in the nation. On the ground, Alabama is rushing the ball an average of 45.3 times per game for a 5.9 yards per rush average. The passing game is averaging 27.3 pass attempts per contest for an average of 9.0 yards per attempt. In the end, those numbers are meaning more points on the scoreboard. Alabama averaged 30.1 points per game last season and is averaging 42.33 points per game in 2009 to rank tied for 11th nationally.

TIME OF POSSESSION: An Alabama trademark over the past two seasons has been its ability to control the line of scrimmage offensively and, consequently, control the tempo of the game. This has played out with an impressive advantage in time of possession. A year ago, the Crimson Tide finished 11th nationally with an average time of possession of 32:08. In 2009, the Crimson Tide is off to another great start in that category, ranking 13th nationally at 33:08. The Tide held the ball for 37:02 in the opener against Virginia Tech, 31:38 against FIU and having it for 30:43 against North Texas. The Crimson Tide has won the time of possession battle in 12 of the last 17 games overall.

McELROY ON THE MARK: Greg McElroy has been impressive in his first three games as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback, completing 66.7 percent (46 of 69) of his passes for 647 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. The junior has now won his last 19 starts at quarterback, going 16-0 as a high school senior in 2005 and 3-0 for the Tide in 2009. In his collegiate starting debut against Virginia Tech, the Southlake, Texas, native threw for 230 yards on 15-of-30 passing with one touchdown and one interception in leading the Crimson Tide to a win over the No. 7 team in the country. McElroy followed up that outing with a deadly precise performance against Florida International, completing 18-of-24 attempts for 241 yards and one touchdown without throwing an interception. In just a half of play against North Texas, McElroy continued to find is mark with 176 yards on 13-of-15 passing and two touchdowns.

McELROY STREAKING: Greg McElory has strung together some pretty impressive passing numbers during his first three starts at quarterback for the Tide. Since halftime of the season opener against No. 7 Virginia Tech, McElroy has completed 40-of-51 passes for 553 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. That computes to a 78.4 completion percentage, a 195.40 passer rating and a 137.99 NFL passer rating over those 10 quarters of play. He set a new Alabama record for consecutive completions against FIU by connecting on 14 straight passes. Then against North Texas, he tied the school mark for highest completion percentage with a minimum of 10 completions, going 13 for 15 (86.7 percent) and equaling Walter Lewis’ 1983 performance against Mississippi and another Danny Woodson (1991 vs. Vanderbilt).

INGRAM OFF TO THE RACES: Sophomore running back Mark Ingram is off to an excellent start in 2009. One week after he showed a national television audience why he was named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award by rushing for 150 yards and a touchdown against No. 7 Virginia Tech, he had another explosive outing off the bench (due to flu-like symptoms) against Florida International. In the FIU game, he accounted for 103 all-purpose yards (56 yards rushing and 47 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving). He followed that with a 91-yard day with a touchdown on just eight carries (11.4 yards per rush) against North Texas. He accounted for 129 total yards vs. the Mean Green with three receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown. In addition to rushing for 297 yards through three games this season to rank 28th nationally in rushing, Ingram has added 10 receptions for 120 yards. Ingram has at least one rushing touchdown in six of his last seven games and a receiving touchdown in two of three games this season. Overall, Ingram has scored at least one touchdown in 12 of his 17 games for the Tide. He had 17 career touchdowns (two receiving), including a freshman record 12 (all rushing) in 2008.

BALL SECURITY: Mark Ingram has also developed another impressive reputation during his 17-game Alabama career as the Flint, Mich., native is an expert at holding onto the football. The sophomore has not lost a fumble in 187 career rushing attempts and 17 receptions for a total of 204 career touches. He has only put the ball on the ground one time (at LSU in 2008) which was recovered by the Tide. He has 1,025 rushing yards in those 17 games with 15 rushing touchdowns while also catching 17 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns.

RICHARDSON HAS IMPRESSIVE DEBUT: True freshman running back Trent Richardson has enjoyed an impressive debut in his first two games with the Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against FIU and followed that up with 87 yards on 11 carries (7.9 ypc) against North Texas. Richardson scored on runs of nine and 35 yards in the second half vs. FIU and then plunged in from one-yard out against North Texas.