Alabama is continuing to dominate college football, only the Crimson Tide now are doing so with an explosive offense.
It’s an offense that had Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt in awe as he watched film on Sunday night.
Pruitt, the former Alabama player, support staffer, assistant coach and defensive coordinator in his first year as the head coach of the Vols, during his press conference on Monday joked the Tide had to “try hard” not to hang 100 points on a couple of opponents this season.
The Tide have been built on elite defenses during their dynasty under Nick Saban, but the Tua Tagovailoa-led attack has Alabama averaging a gaudy 53.6 points per game and putting up a 269 point differential so far this season, the second-highest margin through seven games in SEC history.
“I think offensively, you definitely see (first-year offensive coordinator) Mike Locksley‘s kind of stamp on it,” Pruitt said. “It’s a lot different than it was 10 years ago, I can assure you. I think that over the last three or four years, they’ve kind of moved in this direction offensively, but they’re really spreading the ball around to all kinds of playmakers. I mean, they’ve really had to try hard not to score a hundred points a couple of games, you know? Instead of trying to score 50, they try to keep from scoring a hundred.”
Alabama has surpassed the 60-point mark twice and the 50-point mark three more times, and the only teams to keep the Tide from reaching the half-century mark on the scoreboard were Texas A&M and Missouri. Of course, Alabama scored 45 points against the Aggies and 39 last week on the Tigers. And unlike one recent season when Alabama’s scoring average was boosted by weekly non-offensive touchdowns, the Tide are rolling up a nation-leading 567 yards per game.
“They’re a great team,” defensive lineman Kyle Phillips. “Tua’s a great quarterback, great offensive line, great receiving corps. It’s going to be a tough challenge, so we’ve got to prepare the right way this week.”
Tagovailoa has 35 incompletions, 21 touchdown passes and zero interceptions this season, Jerry Jeudy leads the SEC in receiving (705 yards and nine touchdowns on 27.1 yards per catch) and Alabama is still finding a way to rush for 216 yards per game with running backs Damien Harris and Najee Harris.
Pruitt knows the Alabama defense he left behind very well, and he quipped he was “afraid” to watch film of it on Sunday night after finishing up a couple of games of the Tide’s offense.
“I watched them on offense and I’m not sure how many times that we need to be working on our punt return unit,” Pruitt deadpanned.
“We probably need to be working on our punt unit a whole lot.”