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Tuesday Notebook: Alabama Offense



Oct. 13, 2009

ALABAMA NOTEBOOK:  The latest installment of the Alabama Football Notebook takes at look at the Crimson Tide offense, following a 22-3 win at No. 20 Mississippi last Saturday afternoon in Oxford.  Alabama sophomore center William Vlachos was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week on Monday after paving the way for sophomore running back Mark Ingram’s career-high 172 rushing yards.  Ingram is averaging 120.7 rushing yards in three SEC games this season.  The UA offense is highlighted each Tuesday on

A LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN LAST YEAR: The Tide offense has stepped it up through the first six games of the 2009 season, compared to the first six games of the 2008 campaign. The Tide is averaging 3 points per game more in 2009 and 66 more total yards per game than last season. The passing offense is where the major improvement has been seen with UA throwing for 1,327 yards and nine touchdowns in 2009, compared to 914 yards and six scores at the same time last season.

Comparing the Numbers: 2008/2009
Offense             2008            2009  09      Difference
Scoring:             202/33.7      222/37.0      +20/3.3
Passing:            914/152.3    1327/221.2   +413/68.8
Pass Efficiency:   127.3           145.03         +17.73
Rushing:            1352/226.3  1341/223.8    -9/1.5
Total Offense:    2272/378.7  2668/444.7    +396/66.0 

INGRAM OFF TO THE RACES: Sophomore running back Mark Ingram is off to a great start in 2009. He has rushed for 659 yards and seven touchdowns through six games this season for a 109.83 yards per game average to rank 14th nationally and fourth in the SEC in rushing. Ingram has also added 17 receptions for 163 yards and three scores. In week one, 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 came off the bench (due to flu-like symptoms) against FIU with 103 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving). He followed that with 91 rushing yards and 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. Against Arkansas, he ran for 50 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 21 yards and a score. Ingram was again the workhorse at Kentucky with 140 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. At Mississippi, he carried the Tide to a 22-3 win with a career-best 172 yards on the ground on 28 carries and three receptions for 16 yards for a total of 188 all-purpose yards.

INGRAM, RODGERS & GERHART ELITE RUSHERS IN 100/10 CLUB: There are only three players in the country with a 100+ rushing yards per game average and 10 or more total touchdowns. Jacquizz Rodgers at Oregon State is averaging 116.2 ypg and leads the nation with 13 total touchdowns. Toby Gerhart of Stanford and Mark Ingram of Alabama are the other two in this elite group. Gerhart is averaging 124.3 ypg with 10 scores and Ingram checks in at 109.8 ypg with 10 touchdowns as well. Here’s a look:

Player                                               Total TDs            Rushing ypg       
Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State            13 (13 rush)        116.2                   
Toby Gerhart, Stanford                         10 (10 rush)         124.3                   
Mark Ingram, Alabama                        10 (7 rush, 3 rec)  109.8                   
Darius Marshall, Marshall                      9 (9 rush)            147.4                   
Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech                 9 (9 rush)             122.3                   
Jahvid Best, California                          9 (8 rush, 1 rec)   102.8                   

INGRAM FINDING THE END ZONE: Ingram has shown the ability to find the end zone during his Alabama career. The sophomore has at least one rushing touchdown in nine of his last 10 games and at least one in each game of the 2009 season. He also has a receiving touchdown in three games this season. Overall, Ingram has scored at least one touchdown in 15 of his 20 career games for the Tide. He has 22 career touchdowns (three receiving), including a freshman record 12 (all rushing) in 2008. In 2009, Ingram ranks first in the SEC in touchdown scoring and second in total scoring at 10.0 points per game while ranking tied for 13th nationally. He has seven rushing touchdowns and three receiving scores this season.

Mark Ingram Game-By-Game Stats Get Acrobat Reader

BALL SECURITY:  Ingram has also developed an impressive reputation during his 20-game Alabama career as the Flint, Mich., native is an expert at holding onto the football. The sophomore has not lost a fumble in 254 career rushing attempts and 24 career receptions for a total of 278 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 1,387 rushing yards in those 20 games with 19 rushing touchdowns while also catching 24 passes for 220 yards and three scores.

McELROY STREAKING: Greg McElroy has strung together some pretty impressive passing numbers during his first six starts at quarterback for the Tide. Since halftime of the season opener against No. 7 Virginia Tech, McElroy has completed 88-of-135 passes for 1,139 yards, nine touchdowns and no interceptions. That computes to a 65.2 completion percentage, a 158.06 collegiate passer rating and a 113.78 NFL passer rating over those 22 quarters of play. He set a new Alabama record for consecutive completions against FIU by connecting on 14 straight passes. 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). McElroy has not thrown an interception in 141 pass attempts, dating back to a second quarter pick against Virginia Tech in the opener. That streak of 141 passes ranks third in the Alabama record book, behind Brodie Croyle (190) and Jay Barker (155).

Greg McElroy Game-By-Game Stats Get Acrobat Reader

RICHARDSON HAS IMPRESSIVE ROOKIE CAMPAIGN: True freshman running back Trent Richardson has enjoyed an impressive rookie season. The Pensacola, Fla., native has rushed for 346 yards and four touchdowns on just 61 attempts. He is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and 57.7 yards per game. He rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against FIU in just his second career game. He followed that up with 87 yards on 11 carries (7.9 ypc) against North Texas and 65 yards and a score vs. Arkansas. Richardson scored on runs of nine and 35 yards in the second half vs. FIU, plunged in from one-yard out against North Texas and then broke five tackles en route to a 52-yard touchdown vs. Arkansas.

Trent Richardson Game-By-Game Stats Get Acrobat Reader

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 seventh nationally at 34:08. The Tide held the ball for 37:02 in the opener against Virginia Tech and then a season-best 38:19 at Mississippi. UA also won possession time against FIU (31:38), North Texas (30:43), Arkansas (33:36) and Kentucky (33:30). The Crimson Tide has won the time of possession battle in 15 of the last 20 games overall and all six contests in 2009.

DIVERSE SCORING: The Alabama offense has been able to score in a hurry while also showing the ability to grind out the long, time-consuming scoring drive as well. The Crimson Tide has scored 15 touchdowns in three minutes or less, including eight that found the end zone in three or less plays. On the flip side, Alabama has grinded out eight scoring drives (seven touchdowns & one field goal) that have included 10 or more plays and 5:00 of possession time. The Tide has logged five touchdown drives that have consisted of 13 plays. Alabama has also pounded out seven drives of 80 yards or more, including three drives of 95 yards or more (99, 97  & 95).