Alabama Football has struggled to run the ball in general this season, but has particularly struggled in the first half of games. It has almost become a theme at the midway point in the season; the Crimson Tide gets completely shut down on the ground for the entire first half before finally making some headway late in the game.
It happened against lowly South Florida, it happened against Ole Miss, and it happened again against Texas A&M. In big division matchups against Ole Miss and A&M, Bama went into the locker room with 35 yards on 22 attempts and -13 yards on 10 attempts respectively. If this trend continues, it could eventually cost the Tide a game.
What has made these issues even more glaring is the fact that Alabama Football is fielding a very young quarterback that is still in a growing process. This has meant that in a lot of these games in which Bama has failed to establish the run, the offense has completely stalled out.
The Tide had just six first half points against Texas, three against USF, six against Ole Miss, and ten against A&M. In these four games, Bama scored just one total first half touchdown. This anemic scoring output was largely the result of an inability to run the football.
For the season, Alabama ranks 84th nationally with 143.7 rushing yards per game and 106th in the country with 3.7 yards per carry. The Crimson Tide has to improve in this aspect for obvious reasons; the lack of balance on offense puts too much pressure on the rest of the team, specifically Jalen Milroe.
With its defense playing at an elite level, Bama has had the luxury of still being highly competitive despite a total inability to run the ball against SEC competition. In several games, it has been fortunate to not face a big halftime deficit.
So what is the answer? Is this all part of the developmental phase of an offensive line that will eventually develop into a championship-caliber unit? Should Alabama Football turn to more explosive backs such as Jam Miller and Justice Haynes? Should it incorporate Milroe’s dynamic athleticism into the run game more often?
I have speculated that it has avoided doing so in order to protect the redshirt sophomore quarterback, but what is the cost of not utilizing Milroe’s entire skill set?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but they are unknowns that Nick Saban, Tommy Rees, and Eric Wolford must figure out collectively.