Alabama Football: Offensive Notebook

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Sept. 30, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Crimson Tide has outscored the opposition 74-0 in the first quarter this season, including all five possessions in the first half of its 41-30 win at Georgia last Saturday night in Athens.  Read about the Alabama offense each Tuesday during the season on RollTide.com.

FAST-STARTING TIDE: Alabama scored 31 first half points on Sept. 27 at Georgia and has outscored its opposition this season a combined 133-20 in the first half, including a 74-0 edge in the first quarter of its first five games. Alabama has shut out Clemson (13-0), Tulane (13-0), Western Kentucky (17-0), Arkansas (21-0) and Georgia (10-0) in the first period this year, and has a 59-20 edge in second-quarter scoring this season, outscoring Georgia 17-0 in the second frame.

ANOTHER FIRST-HALF EXPLOSION: Scoring on their first five possessions of the game, Alabama stormed to a 31-0 halftime lead at then-No. 3 Georgia. That continued a trend of quick starts by the Crimson Tide in 2008. Against the Bulldogs, Alabama took its first possession of the game in for a touchdown following the opening kickoff. The opening-drive score was Alabama’s fourth this season in five games. Below are the top scoring halves for Alabama under second-year head coach Nick Saban:

First-Half Scoring
35 at Arkansas Sept. 20, 2008 (1st Half)
31 at Georgia Sept. 27, 2008 (1st Half)
31 Western Kentucky Sept. 13, 2008 (1st Half)
28 Western Carolina Sept. 1, 2007 (2nd Half)
27 Colorado Dec. 30, 2007 (1st Half)
24 Tennessee Oct. 20, 2007 (2nd Half)
24 Western Carolina Sept. 1, 2007 (1st Half)

40 POINTS: Alabama has scored 40 points in each of its last three games for the first time since the 1991 season. In wins over Western Kentucky, Arkansas and No. 3 Georgia, Alabama scored 131 total points for its highest three-game total also since the 1991 season.  The Crimson Tide scored 163 total points in three straight wins against Vanderbilt (48-17), UT-Chattanooga (53-7) and Tulane (62-0) from Sept. 28-Oct. 5, 1991, which is also the last time UA scored 40 or more points in three straight games. The Crimson Tide has scored 40 points in its last two SEC wins, beating Arkansas 49-14 and Georgia 41-30 the last two weeks. The last time UA scored 40 points in two straight SEC games came against Mississippi (62-27) and Tennessee (47-30) during the 1989 season.

WILSON BREAKS ALABAMA CAREER PASSING YARDS MARK: Senior quarterback John Parker Wilson broke the Alabama record for career passing yards in the 41-30 win over Georgia on Sept. 27. With 205 passing yards, Wilson surpassed Brodie Croyle (2002-05) on the Alabama list. Wilson now has passed for 6,398 yards, eclipsing Croyle’s total of 6,382. The record fell on a 29-yard pass to Roy Upchurch that he carried to the Georgia 13-yard line with just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

JONES SETS FRESHMAN RECEIVING TD RECORD: Freshman receiver Julio Jones hauled in a John Parker Wilson touchdown pass with 1:25 left in the second quarter against Georgia, his fourth touchdown catch of the season, to set an Alabama record for touchdown catches by a freshman. The previous mark of 3 was shared by David Palmer (1991) and A.C. Carter (1999).

TIME OF POSSESSION: An Alabama trademark this season has been its ability to control the line of scrimmage offensively and, consequently, control the tempo of the game. This has been particularly evident in games with Clemson, Arkansas and Georgia. In the first quarter against Georgia, Alabama outgained the Bulldogs 89-30 in total yards while controlling the ball for 11:19 of the period and garnering 10 first downs to Georgia’s two. Alabama had 18 offensive plays to Georgia’s 7 in the first quarter. At games’ end, the Crimson Tide had kept the ball 35:46 to Georgia’s 24:14. Alabama (32:36) currently ranks second in the SEC – and 18th nationally – in time of possession to this week’s opponent Kentucky (33:08). The Crimson Tide played a pretty good game of keep away inside the Georgia Dome in a commanding 34-10 win over then-No. 9 Clemson. The Crimson Tide had possession of the ball for an amazing 41:13 seconds. Alabama then played ball control in the fourth quarter of its win over Western Kentucky and held the ball for 13:19 in the final 15 minutes. For the game, UA had the ball for 37:21 to 22:39 for the Hilltoppers.

O-LINE EXPERIENCE: Alabama’s offensive line has been a dominating force early in the 2008 season. The Crimson Tide ranks 17th nationally in rushing and have physically dominated their opposition. A big reason for their success - beyond physical talent - is their ability to play as a cohesive unit. Coming into the Kentucky game, the five have combined to start 109 games over their careers – Caldwell (39 starts), Smith (30 starts), Johnson (18 starts), Marlon Davis (17 starts) & Drew Davis (5 starts).

3RD DOWN SUCCESS: The Alabama offense has been outstanding at converting third downs in 2008. The Crimson Tide lead the SEC and are 14th nationally by converting 49.2 percent (31 of 63) of their third-down opportunities. UA was especially good at converting third downs against Clemson and Western Kentucky. The Tide converted 11 of 17 (64.7 percent) third-down chances against the Tigers in the season opener and then made good on 64.3 percent (9 of 14) of their third-down plays against Western Kentucky. Alabama is also 3 for 3 in fourth-down situations this season.