Top-ranked Crimson Tide has work to do during bye week

By Jasmine Cannon

Alabama defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 33-14 this past Saturday, but the margin of victory does not show the Tide’s weaknesses exposed in the game.

Offensive efficiency and scoring touchdowns in the red zone are two places Nick Saban and the team are looking to work on in preparation for the remainder of their schedule.

Alabama trailed in a game for the first time all season and struggled with running the football. Eddie Lacy had 82 yards on 19 carries to lead all Alabama rushers. Players and coaches agreed this was their toughest bout so far this season.

“We got the stops on defense but then went three-and-out and never really put a drive together and kicked two field goals,” Saban said. “We need to do a little bit better job of finishing games as well.”

Quarterback A.J. McCarron has set the Alabama record for consecutive pass completions without throwing an interception with his 22-30 completions against Mississippi. The Tide made it into the red zone four times in the game, resulting in two touchdowns and two field goals.

Alabama kicker Jeremy Shelley scored four field goals in the game and was the team’s only source of offense until Christion Jones returned a kick off for a touchdown.

The Tide’s first offensive touchdown came early in the second quarter following an interception for the defense. True freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper made his presence felt on the field, with his team leading eight catches and two touchdown receptions.

Ole Miss’ no-huddle offense was efficient and resulted in the game’s first touchdown. But, like any good team, Alabama made the adjustments and kept a tight lease on the Rebels’ offense for most of the rest of the game.

“I think [we adjusted to the no huddle] after that first or second drive,” senior Jesse Williams said. “We knew they were going to do that stuff, we practiced it a lot. It’s a lot faster when they do it. Once we started to get their tempo and start controlling our tempo, it worked out for us.”

“We weren’t ready to play when they hit the first big touchdown on their first drive,” Saban said. “Guys were looking at the bench trying to get a signal. We got better as coaches as the game went on. I think the players got used to the pace of the game as it went on, and I think we played a little better.”

If the Tide shows steady improvement on offense, scoring in the red zone and on defense, I think the team is well on its way to having a successful season.

LSU fell behind non-conference opponent Towson on Saturday before coming back to win 38-22. Georgia beat Tennessee by a touchdown and South Carolina showed struggles in their first game by defeating Vanderbilt by a small margin.

Is there any team in the country that can defeat Alabama right now? Just think about how much more difficult it would be if the Tide figured out a way to make all of their weaknesses into strengths.

“The solution is pretty obvious,” Saban said. “Do it right to start with and prepare the right way.”

Read more here: http://cw.ua.edu/2012/10/01/tide-has-work-to-do-during-bye-week/
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