Happy Friday, everyone. Tide basketball hosts Jacksonville State tonight at 8pm central, and will be televised on SEC Network. We will have full coverage of that one later.
Of course the football team has its annual FCS date before the Iron Bowl. Nick Saban had quite the eventful coach’s show last night.
— Saban said he showed the team a few pictures before the Ole Miss game. The first was of an empty stadium late in the game at Arkansas after they put away the Hogs. Then he showed them pictures of Tennesse and LSU fans rushing the field to remind them “it’s personal.”
— “I’m not on the internet,” Saban said pretty much because he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
— Saban said he can now text one line. “It takes a while, but I get it,” he said after asking his wife what kind of phone he has
This, however, was the money quote. Lest anyone think that Nick Saban is tired or something, he sure seems motivated to fix what’s broken.
Nick Saban talking about recapturing the culture what Alabama Football has always been about >>>>>>>>>>>>>> pic.twitter.com/AnTYbUZzdK— TC. (@GoatLatia) November 18, 2022
Guess we will see how it goes. There is no question that there has been a shift toward a more finesse team, particularly on offense, the past few seasons. Saban has also stated that they needed to get lighter compared to a few years ago on defense to keep up with spread and uptempo offenses.
It’s fair to say that the entire program is more finesse than it used to be, which can work great as long as the passing game is clicking. For whatever reason, and lawd knows the debate has been had, Bryce Young’s rating as a junior defending Heisman winner is roughly the same as sophomore Jalen Hurts, who had to be benched at the half of the national title game. To be frank, the passing game deficiency is more damaging this year because it is higher volume, while Hurts contributed 855 yards to the run game.
The defense has had its moments for sure, and the running game has been sporadic. Still, the postmortem on this Alabama season has to be that we expected to be carried by Young’s golden right arm and that just hasn’t happened. In no way does that mean that all of the blame for it is on him, of course.
In any case, it has been doubly difficult on Alabama fans because they see Georgia playing a physical brand of football and winning with it. Perhaps the NIL and transfer portal combo have made it more difficult to build the chemistry needed for a high end timing based passing and RPO game, and college football is returning to an era where tough, physical teams that don’t make mistakes can choke the life out of every opponent on the schedule. That remains to be seen, but Nick clearly wants to get back to a standard that this team didn’t quite meet.
Aaron Suttles wrote about coordinators in his mailbag column.
There are some young, exciting offensive coordinators who could fill that void if the position becomes available. Just spitballing here — again, the job isn’t open — a couple of names that come to mind are Garrett Riley (TCU) and Kendal Briles (Arkansas). A more experienced OC who’s having a big year is Phil Longo at North Carolina. Charlie Weis Jr. has worked at Alabama and is at Ole Miss with Lane Kiffin. There are also former head coaches who might want to get back into coaching, like Dan Mullen and Tom Herman.
The defensive coordinator question is more intriguing to me because I think Saban has to think long and hard in the offseason about his defense and if it’s unnecessarily complicated for this day and age. I don’t presume to know the definitive answer to that, but I’ve been told by former coaches and former players that it’s more complicated than it needs to be. I think that decision would likely play into a potential hire as well.
That last paragraph says it all. If the defense needs significant change, and I’m not sure that’s the case, does Nick Saban have it in him to hand his baby off to an outside mind and “modernize?” He’s shown plenty of adaptability through the years, but that might be a bridge too far.
As far as O’Brien goes, Albert Breer has this little nugget from last offseason.
Breer reported in September that O’Brien ”would have been amenable” to re-joining the Patriots, but that Belichick was concerned about O’Brien leaving the team after one season, which would have meant three different offensive coordinators in three seasons for young quarterback Mac Jones. So, Belichick decided to promote from within and chose Patricia, who has 16 total years of experience on staff.
Brad Crawford over at 247 apparently still thinks that the CFP rankings are a resume contest.
College football’s second highest-rated two-loss team currently has one victory over a team that’s ranked inside the third playoff top 25 and that’s Ole Miss. In fact, the Crimson Tide’s losses this season — a combined four points at Tennessee and LSU — are more impressive than the wins. In an expanded playoff, Alabama would be a dangerous team given the overall talent level of the roster, but this squad’s had warts throughout the season and is a couple plays away from being 5-4 at this point. If we’re judging by resume, there are other teams behind Alabama with more notable accomplishments.
The committee has been consistent that it’s about the “four best teams.” Nearly every advanced formula has the Tide in the top three in the nation. As much as they haven’t looked like anyone expected them to this season, this is still a team that nobody wants to play. Still, there has to be a penalty for taking multiple losses, so Alabama is ranked about right in my view.
Derrick Henry continues to carry the 7-3 Titans. Last night he had 132 scrimmage yards on 30 touches, plus this.
Don’t look now, but he may be well on his way to another 2000 yard season and potential MVP award.
Last, Mason Smith over at SI has a nice profile of our top-seeded soccer team.
However, the aura surrounding this team is something different than the excitement and anticipation watching the team go on a historic run. It’s evolved past watching Felicia Knox, Riley Mattingly Parker, Reyna Reyes and the team put on dominating performances week in and week out; it’s more than thinking that Alabama has a better chance with the fourth and fifth seeds being upset.
In some ways, it is a reference to the dynasty program built a few minutes down University Boulevard, and how Nick Saban and Alabama football have established a reputation of being among the best.
Best of luck, ladies!
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.