Two things came to mind as I was reading the Q and A on the Arkansas blog, Arkansas Expats, this morning that I thought I should share:
It seems like everyone is criticizing recent Bama defenses, including this year's, because of lack of pass rush. I see it come up in stories and articles daily. While the lack of sacks is obviously staring us in the face as we peruse the stats after each game, I always had a sneaky suspicion that this was the product of something else at work. I mean, we all know how fond of the nickel defenses Coach Saban is, and the blitz packages have been vanilla at best to date this year. So if you really take all factors into account, I think if Saban and Smart really sold out to get sacks, I honestly believe they would be there.
Well on Tuesday I believe my suspicions were confirmed, straight from the horse's mouth, as they say. I was listening in my car to a radio show on Sirius, on the college football channel. Now I didn't get to hear the whole thing, and frankly I don't even remember what show it was, but I'm pretty sure it was the one with Mike Leach. But they had on Coach Saban as a guest and discussed this topic in detail. (Disclaimer: I am just quoting this from memory, as I don't have a transcript of it and haven't seen it anywhere. If anyone else out there heard it, please feel free to chime in with anything I missed.) Basically Coach Saban says that sacks just simply are not important to him and Coach Smart, and they do not emphasize getting sacks in practices or in games. he goes on to say that "moving the pocket" and just "affecting" the quarterback are their primary goals. Doing this inevitably causes qb mistakes to happen. That being said, he did admit that, yes it would be nice to get sacks, but again, it's not a priority. He also said that sacks do not equate to winning, and he is only interested in the statistics that produce wins.
After Saban spoke on this for a few minutes, Leach chimed in and said he agreed 100%, noting that in his time working with qbs, when they got pressured consistently and hit every time they went back for a pass, that it got in their heads and affected their game.
Point of the story, I will be holding judgement on the defense for lack of sacks until they outright get burned by it, and I suggest you all do the same.
On a completely different subject, the other thing I noticed in the Q&A: While I wholeheartedly endorse usage of "y'all" in everyday conversation and even in articles, because it evokes a certain "southern charm" that we like to claim, I believe that using it 3 times in one sentence may be pushing it past the point of "charm", and into the realm of... well, some stereotypes that we don't want. Just my two cents. Otherwise very informative and not overly biased, which is great to see.