Stuart McNair

Particularly in national championship seasons, Alabama has great offensive balance

The offensive balance in the Nick Saban Era is fascinating

The best thing about the nine-plus years of the Nick Saban Era at Alabama is the number of national championships. Four titles thus far and ranked No. 1 in the nation as Bama is definitely in the conversation for a fifth, which would be one of the most remarkable records in sports – five championships in 10 years.

The overall Saban record, of course, is exceptional. 110-118, including 5-0 this year. That’s a winning percentage of 93.2.

One of the more fascinating aspects of Alabama’s offense under Saban – through four offensive coordinators – is the balance between rushing offense and passing offense.

This year, Alabama is very close in balance. After five games, the Crimson Tide has 1,158 yards rushing and 1,264 yards passing, a difference of 106 yards, or about 21 yards per game.

Saban was asked about offensive balance Wednesday. He said, “I’d say we’re getting it in some ways, but certainly not satisfied --not disappointed at all in the progress we’ve made considering Jalen Hurts’ experience  and as he’s gaining experience, how well he’s been able to manage the offense. Some of the injuries that we’ve had at receiver have probably made it a little more difficult for him to do that. We’d like to do it on a little more consistent basis, I guess is the way that I’d put it best.  That’s something that we’re striving to try to improve on.”

Consider what Saban’s offense has done in the 128 games he has coached at Alabama.

The offense has produced 25,610 yards rushing and 28,981 yards passing. That works out to an average of 200.1 yards per game rushing, 226.4 yards per game passing.

In the 2011 season, the Tide had 2,788 yards rushing and 2,797 yards passing, a difference of only 9 yards for the 13 game season. That works out to a per game difference of about two feet.

In fact, the national championship seasons have been above average in balance. In 2009 the Tide had 3,011 yards rushing and 2,631 passing. In 2012, it was 3,185 rushing and 3,052 passing (a difference of 133 yards for the season). And last year Bama passed for 3,407 yards, rushed for 2,999.

In the 56 games played in those four seasons (record 53-3), Bama had 11,973 yards rushing and 11,887 yards passing, a difference of 86 total yards – 1.05 yards per play.

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