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Jumbo Package: Angry Saban Edition: Far too many of Alabama’s problems lie in execution

Saban is mad. I’m mad. Alabama fans are mad. Let’s vent.

Alabama v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

We’re going to rant today, and by “we,” I mean all of us, not “Erik, in the Royal We.”

So, let’s start.

Alabama’s explosive offense under BoB has consisted of “throw it to JaMo and hope magic happens.” That was a great plan when, you know, JaMo was on the team. Without JaMo, the offensive explosion has been more of a toilet water-soaked Black Cat firecracker. That failson nitwit is simply incapable of scheming players into space, and has been relying on out-talenting teams.

So, what is a Gump to do without JaMo?

Why, we hope the next JaMo comes along. And, fortunately for Tide fans, the speedy Tyler Harrell, should return “soon.” Let’s just hope it’s before the Arkansas game. Yeesh. I can’t do ten more games of this crap.

Watching O’Brien stumble around with the playbook is like taking imported Russian caviar and cutting it with raw sewage to make it last longer. Sure, you get more of it, but all you’ve done is ruin a high-end product because you’re a damned fool who thinks no one will notice the smear on our cracker.

And, no, don’t think for a second I forgot to give you that second piece on the BoB experience. That’s coming up tomorrow. For now, just know that I’m still angry. As you should be.


I’m not the only one mad.

Saban is mad at Alabama’s fundamentals, which is simply not something you want to hear in the third week of the season:

“It’s also focusing on the fundamental way that you need to do your job, whether it’s hand placement when you’re blocking somebody, whether it’s hand placement as a defensive line when you’re striking a blocker,” Saban said after Wednesday’s practice. “All those things help you have a chance to be successful on that particular play – footwork covering somebody, how you run routes, how you release, how you come out of the route at the top of the route.

“All those things, when you say play smart, that means you have to do it correctly because that gives you the best chance. That’s not mental errors, aight, that’s just a lack of fundamental execution and sort of buying into the fact that if I do this right, that’s gonna give me the best chance to be successful. That’s just something that I thought did fairly well in the first game, but we did not nearly as well last week on the road. That’s something that we need to develop consistency in.”

If that continues, then don’t expect to see this two-deep remain static. Players will lose their starting positions.

I think you saw what Saban is alluding to last week, for instance, when you had four guys executing on the line, and one player just folding like a dandelion in a gale. Promising running plays were blown up at the LOS because of it, resulting in a lack of consistency. And honestly, many of Alabama’s running game woes this year can be traced that to one issue: interior line play, and one guy. That unit in particular is unlikely to continue to stand-pat because of such fundamental execution errors.

Last season, we saw the fundamental flaws emerge in early September at the Swamp. Too many of us shooed them away, thinking that the close call did Alabama good. It did not. They would manifest as season-long ones that emerged again at Auburn, at Aggieland, against LSU.

Can this coaching staff and this team learn this year? I mean, they’ve had 17 games now to correct the exact same problems and have not done so to-date. In fact, Alabama has severely regressed in almost every respect, at least on offense.

This is a year that Alabama was set up for a run at the crown. After two weeks, I can’t say as I’m optimistic about those chances, nor am I forgiving about it. These players are getting paid now, so it’s time to earn your keep or lose your job. And every coordinator on staff is a millionaire. So, again, earn your keep or lose your job. My charity level it an all-time low, and my patience is absolutely nil at the moment.

The fact Saban was having to chastise his team in Week One for not focusing on that week’s opponent, and again in Week Three for execution errors, tells me he’s more than a bit angry too. This team has soooo much potential, and they’re really, truly trying to buy-in and be leaders.

But just something feels...off. Again.

Let’s see how much they can grow over the next two weeks.


It could be worse? We could have Jimbo Fisher calling plays...and then hemming and hawing about continuing to do it forever:

“In time I would, yeah. Possibly could,” Fisher said. “You always evaluate those things. We evaluate everything we do. It’s a conglomerate play-calling too — we’re getting information from everybody, thoughts and ideas that we put down. Those sheets we do going into the game. It’s a collective group decision based on off our offensive staff and what we do and how we do things. But yes, possibly yes.”

Jimbo-to-English translation: “Can’t stop, won’t stop. But I have to say this because people are mad at me.”


Hockey opens its full home season this Friday, and the schedule was just dropped yesterday. If you’re ever in Pelham, give it a go. The Frozen Tide are a lot of fun. It’s a great venue for those who want to support ‘Bama athletics, but not necessarily deal with the rushed cattle call of a gym meet or basketball game, or the time and expense of a trip to BDS. It’s also remarkably affordable and a great way to stretch an entertainment dollar.


Nick Saban addressed this waaaaay back in 2015 and 2016, with the Blake Barnett / Jalen Hurts saga — Quarterbacks just cannot sit and be developed any more. Some people wait their turn, for sure. But that’s a 50-50 prospect.

In the portal era, Top-5 QBs have transferred half the time. If you think coaching is a carousel, the movement among signal callers is even more fluid. And there are many reasons for it; hanging on to quality depth and managing the roster at the spot has become one of the toughest (and most crucial) tasks in coaching.

Call it what you want — impatience, entitlement, free will or free agency — the numbers show the process was well established before the transfer portal debuted in October 2018. (The one-time transfer exemption was not legislated until August 2021.)

All of five of the top-rated quarterbacks in the Class of 2016 eventually transferred. Since the portal was established, half of the top five have left (10 of 20).

“In their world of recruiting, they’ve always been the guys,” former Arizona, Texas A&M and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin said of top quarterback prospects. “The combination of that, their handlers, their coaches, their trainers — and then the parents start believing they’re the best ever. They’re not only preparing for their own games; they’re watching everybody else in the country.”

It’s sometimes a weekly juggling act that has recruitniks, coaches, fans and even the players themselves constantly looking outside the program for the next best thing.


Everyone assumed (and Lane Kiffin has verified) that the Mississippi Schools were going to be hamstrung in an NIL era. There are plenty of reasons for it. At-best regional brands, poor schools, poor state with a diminishing population, lack of powerful alumni base, etc.

But, one thing they do have going for them is good ole’ fashioned cronyism. And, buddy, it’s making its way to the Hart Building via one of the most powerful GOP Senators in the caucus.

One of the most powerful Republicans in the U.S. Senate is reintroducing a bill to govern name, image and likeness (NIL) that would “preserve the unique amateur nature of college sports,” he says.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), the ranking member of the committee believed to hold jurisdiction over any NIL legislation, is proposing a similar bill to the one he introduced in December 2020. His legislation would legalize college athlete NIL by using a national standard of rules that prohibits boosters and schools from utilizing NIL in recruiting

Just call this one the Lane Kiffin Act of 2022.


You can’t help but be happy for yet another Saban protege, former Alabama RBC and recruiting coordinator Charles Huff. His Marshall Thundering Herd went into Notre Dame Stadium and ran over, around, and through the Fighting Irish to secure the best name-brand win in program history last week.

Very good feature here from Football Scoop:

[Huff] also began to further hone a knack of impacting others after he joined Nick Saban’s Alabama staff in 2019.

“Just the way that he treated everybody, his overall way that he approached everybody and his work on daily basis,” said Marc Votteler, who, like Huff, arrived at Alabama in 2019 as the Tide’s assistant director of player personnel. “His attitude, organization, everything. I could go on and on.

“He has this presence about him that you just can kind of tell people gravitate toward him, and he has an ability that he relates to everybody in all aspects of life. He won’t meet anybody he can’t find something to relate to them and get them to open up.”

And, but for those who lament lack of progress in minority hiring at the college level, some of the hottest black head coaches in the nation were on Nick’s staff — Charles Huff and Mel Tucker among them (to say nothing of Freddie Roach, who is destined for a big-time gig soon). Talent not only rises to the top; but that top talented is developed, not born. Saban knows how to spot them, and how to develop them.


AL.com has a great story on the emergence of icy Will Reichard, the recipient of our 2020 Big Dick Energy award. At the time, we said this:

At quarterback, wide out, and even defensive back, we expect cocksure attitudes from those convinced that he swings the biggest schlong in the bar. But Reichard takes a back seat to no one. He is perfect on the year in kicks: He leads the nation at 37-of-37 on PAT, leads the nation in PAT attempts per game (6.2), is tied for first in FGA accuracy (100% 8-of-8 — long 52), and is 4th in the nation in scoring. And with the way he carries himself, you legitimately think he may never miss again.

Swing it freely, Will. Y

Not much has changed over the last two years. And last week may have been one of his finest days in a Crimson and White uni. He calmly booted the game winner in Austin with the clock winding down, along with knocking in a ho-hum 52-yarder that was good from 60. For good measure, he also put all six of his kicks into the back of the endzone, negating some of Texas’s world-class track speed.

All in a day’s work for Alabama’s not-so-secret weapon.

“I’d say over my now 20-plus years of coaching kickers and working with colleges, of anyone I’ve ever coached, I’ve never had more confidence in anyone than him as a high school and college player,” national specialist coach Chris Sailer told AL.com, “The only one that comes close when it comes to mentality is Justin Tucker.”

The legend of Will Reichard has spread and is growing this fall. How many college kickers are compared to future NFL Hall of Famers, like Tucker? How many have had a perfect season? Are a kid’s hero? Have a Cameo account? Alabama’s “weapon” and fan favorite may have a more important role this year, though. With the margin of error seemingly thinner for the Tide, Reichard has become a necessity.

That’s it for now. We’ll be back with a lot more later.

Poll

What is your anger level at the moment?

  • 4%
    Incandescent fury
    (35 votes)
  • 12%
    Thermonuclear pissed off
    (89 votes)
  • 11%
    Meme-worthy anger
    (84 votes)
  • 56%
    Not so much anger as exasperation and/or confusion
    (419 votes)
  • 9%
    I’m the upbeat sort and/or a Buddhist: never too high, never too low.
    (67 votes)
  • 5%
    Every heart has its secret sorrows which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad
    (44 votes)
738 votes total Vote Now