Is the Alabama football glass half-empty or half-full?

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22: Jalen Hurts /

A quarter of the way into the regular season, Alabama football is a work-in-progress. Fans are unsure if the team should be viewed as a glass, half-empty of half-full.

Alabama football fans are largely optimists. A history of extraordinary success suggests viewing Alabama football through Crimson-colored glasses risks little distortion. Then again, the pre-Saban era, after Paul Bryant’s dynasties, offered few respites from despair. Other than a few years of reprieve under Gene Stallings, 1983 through 2006 was a woeful time.

Wary Alabama football fans know nothing lasts forever. Among a fan base where any season without three championships is a failure, vigilance is exercised. So we bounce around between optimism and pessimism, looking for any clue to what the Alabama football future holds.

In the first week of SEC competition, let’s consider where the Alabama football stands as a glass, half-empty or half-full.

The Half-Empty Perspective

  1. The half-empty perspective is driven most by fan angst over Jalen Hurts. Jalen does not sit in the pocket and run through his progressions. Jalen’s passing accuracy is inconsistent. Against a physical defense that loads the box, the Alabama football passing attack through Jalen will repeat last season’s ineffectiveness against Washington and Clemson.
  2. The offensive line is not physical enough. They struggle in pass protection. When short yardage situations demand knocking the opponent off the ball, consistency is lacking.
  3. The defensive line depth is inadequate in terms of talent and experience to go the distance against top teams. Da’Ron Payne is great but does not have enough help. The defensive line cannot be counted on to dominate opponents.
  4. The Tide cannot consistently pressure the quarterback rushing only four players.
  5. The linebackers, due to youth and inexperience miss too many tackles and blow too many assignments.
  6. Field-goal kicking is not consistent.

In our opinion, none of the six points above are lacking in merit. Every one of them is a legitimate reason for concern. But the half-empty perspective does not represent a complete picture. Instead of debating each point, let’s move to the half-full perspective.

The Half-Full Perspective

  1. Jalen Hurts is one of college football’s most potent offensive threats. Through three games, Jalen is averaging 8.7 yards-per-carry. His throwing accuracy has improved. The Brian Daboll offense needs game reps to refine and expand the use of all the available offensive talents.
  2. The running back roster is loaded. The Daboll scheme to use the RB’s more in the passing attack is a big improvement.
  3. The talent at wide receiver is exceptional. Clear big-play potential will be utilized more as the season continues.
  4. The Alabama secondary has at least three future NFL players. They will not get burned often.
  5. J.K. Scott is a great punter and a very good kick-off man.
  6. Andy Pappanastos can deliver accuracy with adequate range. The prove is the 43 and 46-yard made field goals against Colorado State.

What point between empty and full is accurate?

Six reasons for pessimism. Six reasons for optimism. All 12 points have merit. We could choose to draw conclusions based on hypotheticals. For example, when Anfernee Jennings and Rashaan Evans return the pass rush will improve and there will be fewer missed tackles and blown assignments.

Or we can skip the hypotheticals and trust in Nick Saban, his staff and the team. A strong argument can be made that Alabama football will not encounter a stiff challenge until November. Maybe not even then.

There is plenty of time to develop into a championship team. That Alabama football is not championship quality yet does not warrant panic. Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News put it well,

"Efficient, not overwhelming, on offense.Out of sync on defense, understandable but far from characteristic.The University of Alabama football team played that way on Saturday night. It might play that way more than a few times this season. There’s nothing wrong with winning like that, no cause for panic or despair, until you face opposition that will require more."

Who is that opposition that will require more? In the regular season, the answer is everybody (except Mercer) and nobody. Vandy, Ole Miss, TAMU, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn have the potential to win against Alabama football if the Tide helps beat itself in a game. But like Alabama, each team has flaws. And like the Tide, they are also works-in-progress.

We like our chances against them all.

Next: The 50 Best Alabama Football Players Ever!

Vandy players and Dores fans are claiming they “want the Tide.” Careful what you wish for is our advice. Check in with us throughout the week as we follow all the news leading up to Saturday’s game.