The Alabama offense sputtered and lumbered after the injury to Tyrone Prothro in the Florida game last year. What started off as a fairly potent offense (averaging 29.6 points per game) found itself scraping to get past mediocre competition as the season wore on without the double (and sometimes triple) threat Prothro could provide as a receiver, QB or running back (not to mention at kick and punt returner.) The stellar defense holding opponents to incredibly small point totals is what made the wheezing offense capable of putting enough points on the scoreboard to win close games in 2005.
The offensive line had massive problems, especially after the injury of starting center J.B. Closner. The offensive line surrendered a combined 21 sacks to Auburn, Tennessee and LSU.
We knew about the struggles and we saw how the numbers dropped off, but until I put some of these stats in graphic form, I don't think I realized just how bad the dropoff was.
Tyrone Prothro was injured in the 5th game of the year. Alabama scored significantly more points in those five games than they did in the remaining seven.
The offense scored 33 more points with Prothro in two less games. While Alabama certainly played better teams in the last seven games (Auburn, LSU, Texas Tech), there were still three opponents that went to bowl games in the first five games (Southern Miss, South Carolina, Florida.)
Additionally, Utah State was the worst team we played all year and the stats become even more frightening if you remove that blowout game. By removing that game, there was still one more game played without Prothro.
I know removing a game is an arbitrary thing to do, but the 35 points racked up against the Aggies somewhat masked the problem.
The average points per game without Prothro drops to 13.3 if you toss out the Utah State game.
The offensive line should be improved in '06. It didn't surrender a single sack to Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl and that provides a bit of hope. Still, Bama has a young, inexperienced QB in John Parker Wilson. Will the scoring woes be over with an improved line but a less experienced QB? I certainly hope so.