While the Tide has no shortage of talented receivers and running backs, the line lost three starters from last year's championship team.
Apparently, there's still some work to do in the trenches, which Saban will surely focus on over the next two weeks before Alabama heads to College Station to face the new Southeastern Conference rival that provided its lone loss of 2012.
The Tide had just 97 yards total offense at halftime but was up 28-10. McCarron & Co. contributed only one of those TDs, and that came when they worked with a short field after a wobbly Virginia Tech punt.
Alabama finally put together an impressive offensive series late in the third quarter, capped by McCarron's scoring pass to Jones.
Still, the Tide managed just 206 yards on offense, far shy of its 445.5-yard average last season.
McCarron finished 10 of 23 for 110 yards, including an interception — he had only three in all of 2012 — and a penalty for intentional grounding.
"It's the first game," McCarron said. "You're not always going to be perfect."
Jones' performance masked the lackluster showing at the Georgia Dome, as he became the first Crimson Tide player since at least 1944 — that's as far back as the Alabama record book goes — to score two touchdowns in a game on returns. And, for the first time since 1995, Alabama scored three non-offensive TDs in a game.
Sunseri stymied a brief bit of momentum Virginia Tech had after Edmunds' long run cut Alabama's early lead to 14-7.
The Hokies held on defense, but Thomas telegraphed a pass over the middle, Sunseri stepped in to make the pick and, without breaking stride, took it all the way to the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown.
"We want our return game to be a weapon for us," Saban said. "It certainly was tonight."
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
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