Scouting Alabama Crimson Tide Offense

It's almost time for the heavyweight title match people have been waiting and hoping for. Florida and Alabama are right now indisputably the two best programs in the country. Both are 30-2 over the last two-plus seasons with each inflicting one of those two losses on the other. Take head-to-head out of the mix and the Gators and Crimson Tide are a combined 58-2 during that time.

Most importantly these are the last two SEC and BCS Champs.

Alabama might be the best offensive team in the country. They are averaging 245 yards on the ground and 267 through the air. They are coming off a tough game against Arkansas, but they really dominated the Hogs in the latter stages of the game after spotting the home team a 20-7 lead.

The offense is keyed by a power running game and they have the two best running backs in the SEC in Mark Ingram (33-308, 9.3, 4) who missed the first two games and Trent Richardson (47-356, 7.6, 4) who has been in all four games. They are big, fast, strong, powerful runners.

Quarterback Greg McElroy has not lost a start since eighth grade, but that's sorta deceiving. He was only the full time starter one year in high school and last year at ‘Bama. Still he's won 34 in a row and that's impressive. He was superb against the Gators in last year's SEC game (12-18, 239, 1 TD). He is generally a low risk players and a guy who does a great job of avoiding mistakes. But between taking 8 sacks and throwing three interceptions he has shown some chinks in the armor, so to speak. Not much, but a bit.

The receiving corps is very good led by one of the best anywhere in Julio Jones (20-305, 2). Florida hopes the experience gained against 6-5 Greg Matthews of Kentucky will help them this week. Problem is Matthews had a big game including two touchdowns. I don't know if it's a good omen or bad omen but Jones wears No. 8 --- just like Matthews.

Jones gets support from Darius Hanks (11-197, 1) and Marquis Maze (9-145, 1). H-Back Preston Dial often gets lost among the other weapons, but he's been very productive (8-94, 2).

The offensive line is excellent coming off the ball, but not great in pass blocking, allowing eight sacks already. Center William Vlachos and right guard Barrett Jones are studs as is left tackle James Carpenter. They trend to run left a lot more than they run right, especially when they really need it. Right tackle is an area of concern for Alabama where D.J. Fluker has had some issues. That's a place Florida needs to attack.

Overall this is a very, VERY good offensive football team with tons of weapons and big play potential. Florida will have to be at its best in terms of holding their ground in the trenches and tackling effectively. The game plan is not complicated. Stop the run and pressure McElroy with as few players as possible. Implementation is another matter altogether.

Tomorrow we look at the Alabama defense and special teams.

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