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After eight tough weeks of football, the Alabama Crimson Tide have managed to navigate one of the toughest schedules in the nation with a 7-1 record, the only loss coming to the #3 Tennessee Volunteers.

Alabama has had many ups and downs throughout the season so far, at times looking like maybe the dynasty could be coming to an end and other times looking like the best team in the nation.

The Crimson Tide has battled adversity by winning tough games on the road and getting victories without their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. This season has been far from perfect or to the Alabama standard, but all of the team’s goals still remain obtainable.

If Alabama can win out, they would win the SEC West, which would put them in a spot to win the SEC Championship and earn a spot in the College Football Playoffs.

Standing in their way are back-to-back road games against two top 25 SEC West opponents, #18 LSU and #15 Ole Miss, followed by two home games to end their season against Austin Peay and in-state rival Auburn.

The off week could not have come at a better time for Alabama.

Here are five things Alabama can improve on during their week off.

Getting Healthy

One of the main things every college football team hopes to achieve during the bye week is getting healthier, and for Alabama, this is no different. Quarterback Bryce Young is back from his shoulder injury, but doesn’t appear to be 100%. He has been limited in practice to prevent some of the wear and tear on his shoulder. This week off will hopefully get him back to full strength down the home stretch.

With the latest news of Alabama losing defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe for the season with a neck injury, the Crimson Tide defensive line has lost some much-needed depth. On top of this, Alabama was without two other defensive linemen due to injury, DJ Dale and Jaheim Oatis, against Mississippi State.

Alabama will use the extra week of rest in hopes to get at least one if not both back against LSU.

Discipline

Last week, Alabama seemed to conquer their penalties problem by only getting flagged three times for 20 yards. This is definitely a step in the right direction compared to previous games, but discipline should continue to be a priority for the Tide during the off week.

Alabama’s next two games on the schedule are on the road in two very hostile environments, where the Crimson Tide has had many struggles with penalties and ball security. Extra preparation will be needed to make sure that they have the discipline and focus to put themselves in a position to win.

Coordinators

It wouldn’t be a normal college football season if Alabama fans weren’t complaining about wanting to fire either the offensive or defensive coordinator, and this year is no different.

Defensive coordinator Pete Golding has done an excellent job so far except against Tennessee, the Crimson Tide’s only loss of the season. It wasn’t just a loss. It was an embarrassment, allowing 52 points and having no answers to stopping Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. During the bye week, Golding needs to tighten up the secondary and draw up some exotic blitz packages to help this explosive defense convert the quarterback pressures into sacks and turnovers.

On the offensive side of the ball, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien has been on the hot seat with Alabama fans all season long. He may not have the kind of receivers he has had in the past, but he still has the reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Bryce Young, and one of the most explosive running backs in the country, Jahmyr Gibbs. So far this season, the play calling has managed to get the job done but has been very vanilla. If Alabama wants to be successful the rest of the season he will need to add some more wrinkles to the play calling and get a little creative.

Receivers

If the Alabama wide receivers were receiving a midseason report card, they might drop it. All joking aside, it would receive a C grade.

So far this season, they have been neither bad nor good - just stuck right in the middle. The Crimson Tide receiving corps is filled with a bunch of young talent, but nobody has really emerged as a go-to receiver for Bryce Young when a big play is needed. Instead of a small group of standout receivers, the Tide has used a large rotation, and it appears that this lack of reps with a smaller group is causing Bryce Young and the receivers to have a hard time getting on the same page. The theme of the Crimson Tide receivers this season has been a lack of separation and dropped balls, and the off week would be an excellent time to improve on these two weaknesses.

Offensive Line

To this point in the season, the Alabama offensive line has been extremely inconsistent. For the most part, the pass blocking has been consistently above average, but the run blocking has had its fair share of ups and downs. The offensive line to this point does not resemble some of the dominant lines Alabama has had in the past. Normally on a 4th and 1, you would typically see Alabama run the ball down the throat of the opposing defense, but with this offensive line, they have relied more on the passing game in these situations.

During the bye week, the offensive line needs to improve on run blocking and being consistent.

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