Alabama Crimson Tide Show Plenty of Room for Improvement

By Tim Letcher
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS

The Alabama Crimson Tide got a win on Saturday, but several flaws were exposed in the effort.

Alabama topped the West Virginia Mountaineers 33-23 at the Georgia Dome, but Nick Saban and his staff will have plenty to work on during the upcoming week of practice.

The big question coming into the game was how would Blake Sims play at the quarterback position. Sims was tight in the first half, missing at least two open receivers. However, he played better in the second half and made enough plays to get the Tide a win. For the game, Sims was 24-of-33 passing for 250 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed six times for 42 yards.

Coming into the game, most experts thought that offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin would get Jacob Coker into the game at some point. Coker did play, but it was inside the last two minutes before he saw the field.

At times, Sims found receivers open, only to see them drop the ball. Most notably was Christion Jones’ drop of a Sims pass when he was wide open near the West Virginia goal line.

In the first half, Sims seemed to have trouble getting the play from the sidelines, getting it called and getting his team to the line of scrimmage. A couple of times in the game, ‘Bama went with a no-huddle attack just to be able to get the play off.

Alabama also struggled on defense in the game. West Virginia had 393 yards of total offense, including 365 yards passing. Quarterback Clint Trickett continually found openings in the Alabama secondary for big plays. That will be a focus for the Tide this week.

West Virginia also got a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Mario Alford as he cut through broken assignments to take it to the house. That shows flaws in special teams, another area where the Tide needs help.

Saban will be happy that his team won, but he realizes that they still have a long way to go.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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