Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Hangover: Virginia Tech

Kudos to Christion Jones. The senior wide receiver, punt returner, and kickoff return man amassed a total of 256 net yards, 209 in returns alone. Here are the big plays:

  • 72-yard punt return for a touchdown
  • 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
  • 38-yard touchdown pass

You add in Vinnie Sunseri's 38-yard pick six, and that's 28 points based on four big plays. 

All those are good aspects of the Tide's play on Saturday afternoon. In addition, the defense played pretty well. Besides giving up a long touchdown run, they pretty much stifled the Hokies' offense. Then again, the Virginia Tech offense is not a paragon of offensive fortitude. 

The troubling takeaway from this opening game is that the offense, which most people considered the strength of team, struggled. They occasionally had flashes--a good run here, a good pass there--but the major concern is the offensive line did not play well. 

It's hard to live up to last year's line, which was the best offensive line in college football, so Alabama fans are spoiled in this regard. But they have to get the offensive line playing better, or I think the Tide loses at least two or three games this season. As far as I could see, I think one starter on the offensive line got benched because he wasn't getting the job done.  Coach Saban's terse statement is one that will be emphasized in the next couple of weeks:  "They outplayed us up front if you want to know the truth." 

I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing for Alabama to have an off week before they travel to College Station on the 14th. From my perspective, I think it would be helpful to have a game before Texas A&M to work out whatever is going on within the offensive line. But they'll just have to work on their issues in isolation, and we'll have to hope they're ready for the Aggies in a couple of weeks. The line didn't look good yesterday. That's for sure. 

Based solely on what I saw in Week 1 of the season, if I'm a betting man, I'm putting cash down on LSU and South Carolina playing in the SEC Championship Game. 

I hope the Tide proves me wrong. We'll see. 

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