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Tuesday Notebook: Alabama Offense



Nov. 3, 2009

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 ninth nationally at 32:36. 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 Tide has won the time of possession battle in 15 of the last 22 games overall and six-of-eight contests in 2009.

BAMA SCORES ON BIG PLAYS: On the year, the Alabama offense has 35 plays of 20 yards or more with nine of those plays going for touchdowns. The Tide also has 12 plays of 35 yards or more with seven of those going for scores.

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 nine scoring drives (seven touchdowns & two field goals) that have included 10 or more plays and five minutes of possession time. The Tide has logged five touchdowns 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).

INGRAM OFF TO THE RACES: Sophomore Mark Ingram is having a fine season for the Crimson Tide, having already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in the first eight games. He has rushed for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns through eight games this season for a 125.5 yards per game average to rank fifth nationally and first in the SEC in rushing. Ingram has also added 19 receptions for 186 yards and three scores. Below is a look at Ingram's season on a game-by-game case.

INGRAM EXPLOSIVE: Ingram has burst onto the scene for the Crimson Tide as a sophomore in 2009. He leads the nation with 32 rushes of 10 or more yards this season and has eight receptions of 10 or more yards for a total of 40. Of Ingram's 172 touches (153 rushes, 19 receptions), almost a quarter (23.3 percent) have gone for at least 10 yards. He ripped off an impressive eight runs and one reception of 10 or more yards against South Carolina, including five runs and one reception of 20 or more yards and a burst of 54 in the second quarter. Those big runs have also shown in Ingram's 6.56 yards per carry, which leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks sixth nationally among rushers with at least 115 carries. Fresno State's Ryan Matthews is first with 7.35 yards per carry on 179 attempts.

AND TOUGH: Ingram has also proven difficult to bring down on first contact. He has gained an astonishing 645 yards after contact this season on those 172 touches (153 rushes, 19 receptions). He has gained 54.2 percent of his total yards after contact this season (645 of 1,190). Ingram reeled off a season-best 167 total yards after contact against South Carolina, including his 24 rushing attempts and two receptions. He also broke the 100-yard barrier on yards after contact vs. Virginia Tech with 115 and got close at Mississippi with 95 yards after contact. Below is a breakdown of Ingram's yards after contact (both rushing and receiving) this season.

Ingram's Yards After Contact
Game                                  Rush Yds      Receiving Yds   Total Yds            Yds After Contact
vs. Virginia Tech                       150              35                 185                       115
FIU                                           56              47                 103                        52
North Texas                               91              38                 129                        74
Arkansas                                   50              21                   71                        23
at Kentucky                              140               6                  146                        54
at Mississippi                            172             16                  188                        95
South Carolina                          246             23                  269                       167
Tennessee                                 99               0                   99                         65
Totals                                    1,004           186                 1,190                     645

AT HIS BEST, AGAINST THE BEST:  Ingram has been at his best against the best in 2009. The sophomore has rolled up 1,190 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 125.5 yards per game on the ground with eight rushing touchdowns in eight games. But those numbers climb even higher when the Crimson Tide's opponent is ranked in the top 25. In Alabama's three games with top-25 opponents, Ingram has accounted for 568 rushing yards (189.3 ypg) and three touchdowns.  He has also caught eight passes for 74 yards and a touchdown to account for 639 all-purpose yards (213.0 ypg) in those three contests. Ingram broke free for 150 rushing yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 35 yards and a score in the season-opener against Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome. He then scampered for 172 yards on the ground, including a 36-yard touchdown run on fourth down at Mississippi. Ingram then exploded for a Bryant-Denny Stadium record 246 yards and a game-clinching touchdown vs. South Carolina. The Tide's games against ranked opponents are also when he has best displayed his hard-to-tackle running style that has led to 377 total yards after contact (125.6 ypg) in those three games, including 115 yards vs. Virginia Tech, 95 yards after contact at Mississippi and 167 yards against South Carolina.

McELROY ON THE MARK:  Greg McElroy has been impressive in his first eight games as the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback, completing 60.0 percent (121 of 202) of his passes for 1,445 yards and nine touchdowns with only three interceptions. The junior boasts a 131.72 passing efficiency rating, which ranks 53rd nationally and sixth in the SEC. He has won his last 24 starts at quarterback, going 16-0 as a high school senior in 2005 and 8-0 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. He also 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).

RICHARDSON HAS IMPRESSIVE ROOKIE CAMPAIGN: True freshman running back Trent Richardson has enjoyed an impressive rookie season. The Pensacola, Fla., native has rushed for 377 yards and four touchdowns on just 74 attempts. He is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 47.1 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.