Don't look for Alabama to beat itself

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp says Alabama is probably the most balanced offense the Longhorns have faced this season.

It’s also an offense that doesn’t beat itself.

"They don't put themselves in negative situations, and that's the thing that jumps off the film to me," Muschamp said.

Consider this: In the SEC championship game win over Florida last month, Alabama didn’t have a turnover, committed just one penalty and allowed just one sack.

The Crimson Tide have turned the ball over only 10 times in 13 games this season, which is the fewest among FBS teams.

Four of Alabama’s 10 turnovers came in one game, the 20-6 win over South Carolina.

Alabama enters Thursday’s game having gone 18 straight quarters without a turnover.

Moreover, the Crimson Tide have surrendered just 10 points off turnovers this season, which ranks second nationally behind LSU’s 7.

“It’s something we take a lot of pride in,” Alabama senior offensive guard Mike Johnson said. “That’s not something that just happens. We hold each other accountable for doing things right, and coach Saban holds us all accountable. If you make the same mistakes, you’re not going to be playing for him.”

Alabama is fifth nationally in turnover margin at plus-16. Quarterback Greg McElroy has thrown just four interceptions in 314 attempts and has been masterful at taking care of the ball.

He hasn’t taken chances, and really, hasn’t had to take chances given the diversity of this Alabama offense.

“I’m not one of those guys that just wants to jump out of a tree without something down there,” Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain said. “(McElroy) is a very intelligent player. He understands what we’re trying to accomplish. To his credit, he’s done a great job so far.”