Alabama Football: Crimson Tide offense stuck in neutral

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The offense for Alabama football appears to have experienced a midseason regression. After losing a shootout against Tennessee in which it posted 569 yards and 49 points, the Alabama offense has fallen off a bit. In the two games since, it has averaged just 377.5 yards and 30.5 points per game. The Crimson Tide failed to hit 500 yards of total offense in either game after hitting that mark in five of its first seven contests. It averaged 4.5 yards per play against Mississippi State and 5.7 yards per play against LSU, its two lowest totals of the season.

Alabama’s decreased passing efficiency can be attributed in part to Bryce Young’s injury. Strangely, however, Young played arguably his best game of the season against Tennessee, his first game back after the initial injury. In his two most recent games, however, he has had uncharacteristic struggles.

Young completed just 53 percent of his passes (47-88) for 6.7 yards per attempt against Mississippi State and LSU. While other detrimental factors in the passing game persist, such as mediocre receiver play and questionable play calling, Bryce Young has not been himself. A healthy Young would likely thrive in spite of those factors.

Alabama Football: Running game set for revival

The Alabama running game has also been neutralized recently. The Crimson Tide were statistically one of the nation’s best running teams midway through the season. Those numbers were bolstered by explosive plays on the ground, which haven’t come easily in Alabama’s last three games. Bama’s longest running play in those three games was a 34-yard run by Jahmyr Gibbs against LSU. As a result, the Tide has averaged just 93.3 yards per game on less than 3.2 yards per carry over that period.

Because it has not displayed the ability to consistently run the ball effectively all season, Alabama has to get back to generating explosives. The offensive line already showed slight improvements against LSU, running for 4.6 yards per carry with center Seth McLaughlin back in the lineup. Against the porous Ole Miss run defense, the Alabama offense could fully return to form. When it’s clicking, Alabama still has the most electrifying run game in the country.

The Tide offense needs to show drastic improvement this week. It seems more likely that such a jump would come from the running game. If Bryce Young is truly still battling shoulder pain, the passing game may not get back to an elite level this season. Alabama football fans hope that Young looks a little more like himself this week. However, he looked off against Mississippi State and worse against LSU coming off of a bye week, and he took a lot of hits in that game.

Bryce Young is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, healthy or not. He is gifted enough to make game-deciding plays in a hostile environment in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Next. Scouting the Ole Miss passing game. dark

The Crimson Tide will need more than a heroic effort from Young to win this one. It will require offensive balance to control this game, and that starts with the Alabama offensive line and running backs.