If Paul's purpose in firing this shot was to put a burr under Nick's saddle, he probably succeeded. But my guess is Saban will hit the field this fall with blood in his eye, not needing a lot of outside motivation, determined to atone for last year's sloppy, unprepared effort against Dabo and hoping they'll meet again in the CFP. My bet is that he will, and they will...and then we'll see just exactly where these two programs stand in relation to each other. My money's on Bama.
The one thing I saw that concerned me was Tua's reluctance to step into his throws. Is last year's injury still lingering? Regardless, Spring games are not reliable barometers of a team's strengths because too many pieces are still in motion. With what must be an all -out mission to atone for the sloppy and undisciplined play the Tide brought to the Clemson game high on Saban's "to do" list, my guess is that we'll feel a lot more comfortable with ALL aspects of his team's readiness when they tangle with A&M.
Paul Finebaum explains why be believes Georgia cost Alabama a shot at beating Clemson in the national championship game
Whoa, Paul!! Can't blame Kirby for a secondary that looked clueless and unprepared, nor a team effort that was about as desultory as any I can recall. It's an absurd thought, I know, but Alabama appeared to be utterly uninterested in playing that game. Why? Who the hell knows!? But the notion that Saban can't find a stable of coaches that can both recruit AND coach is preposterous. Regardless, my guess is that should Dabo and Nick meet again in this year's CFP, the result will be considerably different. And I imagine this thought is on Saban's mind as the Tide enters spring practice. Let's hope so...
Too bad Major won't be groomed for the OC position. I still can't understand why Saban finds Sarkisian attractive. Regardless, it won't especially matter who's calling the shots or how many analysts Nick hires if the on-field coaching in Bama's secondary doesn't improve. That's where the Tide's fate will be decided in 2019.
Bama's season largely is going to hinge on one issue: whether Bama's secondary actually starts playing to its potential. Saban is loaded with talent everywhere, yet we hear every year about how his losses to the NFL are going to weaken the team. Nope. Not yet. No, the real chink in the Tide's armor has been the strangely inconsistent and, at times, astonishingly disorganized and indifferent play at corner and safety. This is purely a coaching issue...period. You can't have a bunch of blue-chippers blowing assignments, missing signals, lining up in the wrong coverage, and generally nullifying their four- and five-star reputations without wondering why in the world the position coaches can't solve the problem. There are simply too many superior athletes back there for that to be happening.
A season-long deficiency of concentration, blown coverages, and generally indifferent play in the secondary finally caught up with Bama against Clemson -- which, despite what Bama-haters would love to believe, was not and is not a program that is four-touchdowns better than Alabama, game in and game out. Two years ago, Saban took Clemson to school in the CFP semifinal by holding the Tigers to 188 yards of total offense in a 24-6 win. Yes, I know. Trevor Lawrence hadn't arrived yet. But the reason for that thumping in part lay in leadership in the secondary, especially by Minkah Fitzpatrick. Lawrence is unquestionably a talented kid, but really...did he do anything particularly special against Alabama...anything that 5-star corners and safeties, properly motivated and well-coached, couldn't have neutralized? No. Saban is not likely to let this year's embarrassment pass unnoticed in the spring and summer, and I expect Alabama will take the field in 2019 with revenge on its mind. If that happens, a repeat with Dabo is likely to look a lot different from what we saw last month.
Paul Finebaum on speculation that Steve Sarkisian will be named Alabama OC: It ‘reeks of desperation’
First, the Tide turns in an uncharacteristically disorganized, sub-par performance against Clemson. Now, we're told that the best Saban can hope for in an OC is a coaching re-tread with a checkered personal history and who has struggled to succeed everywhere he's coached. While no one would suggest the wheels are falling off in Tuscaloosa, I imagine anyone who has followed Alabama football closely and for a long period of time must be wondering if the ground is beginning to shift beneath this program's feet. Perhaps the 2019 season either will confirm or refute this supposition.
WATCH: Stephen A. Smith explains why blowout title game loss may have been a positive for Nick Saban
Upon a couple of days reflection, I concur with Smith. Alabama lost its focus and its discipline against Clemson. It did not lose because of inferior talent. This loss could very well be a positive for Saban as he contemplates integrating the nation's top recruiting class into the Bama program, because he can use it as perhaps the best teaching tool the nation's best coach could use in the aftermath of his worst loss. It may be that Alabama has lost its hunger...or it may be that the team simply had taken winning to be the inevitable outcome of its presence on the field. My guess is we'll see a rejuvenated and revitalized Tide team next season, anxious to redeem itself and reclaim the pinnacle. If Saban uses the "life lesson" Clemson presented him as a springboard, such an outcome is eminently possible.
When did Lane Kiffin know Alabama was in trouble vs. Clemson? When Nick Saban sat on the ball before halftime
Yep. Why throw when you're pounding away to the tune of 4 to 6 yards per carry on the ground? Plus, what better way to keep Trevor off the field when you're killing the clock and controlling the tempo of the game? Second guessing avails no success, but for the life of me I understood very little of what the Saban- Locksley brain trust did most of the night. 2 for 14 conversions on third down? Really? Well, one thing's for sure: Everyone who watched that game knows Clemson is not 4 touchdowns better than Alabama, day in and day out. They also know these two teams are likely to meet again next year. So, if you're Nick you're probably planning on hiring a new secondary coach who can coach 5-star CBs and safeties to perform to their talent and rely less on Tua to carry the load. Run, Bama, run !!!!
When did Lane Kiffin know Alabama was in trouble vs. Clemson? When Nick Saban sat on the ball before halftime
Strange game all the way around...and the fake field goal at the start of the second half --when Bama really needed to put some points on the board-- was inexplicable. Bama looked listless and disorganized all night. Weren't ready to play. Maybe Saban knew something at the end of the first half that we didn't know. Biggest lesson coming out of the night? Alabama's corners and safeties need a lot of help with technique and recognition. Bama's loaded and will be back in the '19 CFP, though, and will probably face Clemson again. If I were Dabo, I'd be ready. Saban won't let disaster strike twice.
Just finished watching Gene Chizik's post-game analysis, and he was on the money. The Tide's secondary, 5-star full as I it may be, was guilty of so many busted assignments, poor technique, and missed tackles that Clemson's victory margin might very well have been wider. Chizik says he's seen these same deficiencies since the start of the season, and he's right. Surtain's coverage of C.D. Lamb in the OU game was nothing more than a predictor of what was to come. Add to this problem a poor kicking game, too many mental errors, inexplicable play calling, and a general listlessness that seemed to permeate the entire team, and against a talented team like Clemson you're headed for defeat. No reason at all why Bama shouldn't be back in next year's CFP...but Saban's got a lot of "coaching up" to do in the meantime. Superior talent will take you only so far...
It looked to me as if Patrick's technique broke down a bit against OU. He appeared to be disoriented on occasion, and didn't seem to react to Lamb's cuts as quickly as he normally does. But it is true that the refs missed some push offs. Regardless, he's a helluva talent, and I expect him to bounce back nicely against the Tigers -- whose receivers can't possibly pose Surtain more problems than he faces going up against Jeudy and Co. each week in practice.
Regardless of the two teams playing, the site of the game ought to somewhere in the central U.S....and it ought to be indoors.
Would these malcontents prefer to see Notre Dame again?
Regardless of whether Tua or Hurts is the QB if Locksley decides to take the air out of the ball & rely primarily on the run, two things will happen: Murray's time on the field will shrink, and OU's defensive miseries will increase. Outcome? Probably more than the 2-TD spread being forecast.
WATCH: Maria Taylor has the perfect response to speculation that Green Bay could lure Nick Saban away from Alabama
Control over the program means everything to Saban. Imagine his having to deal with a general manager and director of player personnel! Ridiculous. Plus, even at 67 you can tell he loves recruiting and grooming young players. Guys built like Saban should never enter the NFL.
Troublesome...and inexplicable on its face. Anyone on this site think this issue could hurt Bama on National Signing Day?
Bama by 10-14 points...Clemson's got some horses, but not enough of them. And they haven't seen a defense anything like what Alabama will field. We heard this same chant last year, and the CFP semi-final wasn't close. Expect more or less the same this year if they square off again.
The day Gus Malzahn "owns" Nick Saban will occur when the sun rises in the west. In the modern era, any number of excellent football coaches have preceded Saban: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, the Bear, John McKay, Barry Switzer, and Joe Paterno come to mind. Yet I cannot recall another coach's success energize the kind of: pick one - resentment, jealousy, outrage, etc. -- that Saban has elicited. I don't understand it. Everyone wants to knock the crown off the king's head. But it won't be done by the likes of Cowherd, Kannel, and the other "analysts" who for whatever reason can't bring themselves to acknowledge and appreciate the continuum of success that Saban has created. " Owning" Saban will only be accomplished on the field by someone who can square off against Saban and defeat him on a recurring basis. Gus, is that you? I'm waiting.
Michigan over Alabama? Ridiculous, yes. But the question poses another defense for an eight-team playoff. Until one team with only one loss proves its superiority over another one-loss team ON THE FIELD, the current argument will never disappear. Moreover, voices from the playoff wilderness-- like UCF, for example-- will finally be heard and given the chance to prove their merit. And let's not be gulled by the argument that such an arrangement will extend the college football season far too long. Look at the length of the college basketball season - November until mid-March. Who's kidding whom?
Yes, and this is the problem with the other teams being touted as possible CFP participants. Neither Clemson, Michigan, nor Notre Dame is "complete" enough to cope with Bama, and Georgia's difficulty scoring inside the Red Zone will be a significant liability against Quinnen Williams & Company.
Poor Colin...still out to lunch. Georgia, maybe...but the only way Oklahoma could be "disruptive" for Alabama is for Riley to make sure the OU defense "shows up" for the game. So far, they've failed to do so, even when playing subpar opponents, and they'd be run out of the stadium by Alabama. (As an aside, like many other fans on this site who are no doubt puzzled by this reality, I can't fathom why Oklahoma can't recruit defensive talent.)
OK. I'll say what Rob won't or feels he can't say. While, yes, Clemson has a dynamic new QB and other exceptional athletes on both sides of the ball, Alabama has more of them...period. Last year, much was made of Clemson's talented defensive front. In the CFP semi-final, however, the Tide neutralized them completely. The same would likely happen this year because the front lines are relatively unchanged. Moreover, because the Tigers haven`t confronted the likes of Buggs, Davis, Wilson, and Williams, or anyone else remotely comparable in speed, quickness, talent, and coordination coming at them from the other side, look for Trevor Lawrence to quickly realize the difference. Can Clemson's offense adapt? Perhaps...but warding off Alabama's depth and athleticism for four quarters will be tough duty. My guess, should they play: Bama by at least two touchdowns, regardless of whether Hurts or Tua us under center.
A month or so ago, I'd have been a little more optimistic about Georgia's chances against Saban. No longer. Bama's secondary has improved dramatically, and will give Fromm headaches all night. And the Tide's front four and linebackers will make Georgia's chances of scoring inside the Red Zone even bleaker than they've been all year. Bottom line: my guess is that even with Tua and Hurts hobbled a bit, Georgia is going to have a difficult time. Make no mistake, though. Kirby is definitely the next big thing in the SEC, and he's gonna be a contender as long as his recruiting keeps pace with Saban. This year, though, will find him wanting.
For 2019 Jimbo is right up there with Alabama in the recruiting rankings, and will probably finish there. He'll need several more years of that level of recruiting success to rise to the top in the West. But I believe he'll do it. Fisher is a good coach, and he appears to be bringing the level of energy to the Aggie program that was sorely lacking when Sumlin was there. That's a good and necessary first step.
Here we go again. Look, if anyone reading this article truly believes either Norte Dame, Michigan, or West Virginia possesses the kind of team speed necessary to stop Bama, then I suggest you avoid the office betting pool during the CFP.
Sounds like Joe and Danny Kanell are first cousins. Honestly, why do these "analysts" continue to embarrass themselves with this kind of idiotic commentary? It's not provocative. it's puerile.
Sorry, Kirk. Clemson can't do it. Their defense is too porous, and they don't have Alabama's depth. Trevor Lawrence will be a plus for them at QB, but I can't see the Tigers' o-line keeping Quinnen, Raekwon, et al out of Lawrence's face. Too, Lawrence isn't mobile enough to escape the rush and avoid negative yardage.This matchup keeps people salivating every year, but the truth is Clemson is still not equipped well enough to hang with Saban.
How is it possible this cretin still has a job as a "football analyst"? Leaving Georgia out of the Top 10 in deference to West Virginia and Washington State is as egregious an affront to logic as his constantly demeaning Alabama. This man needs counseling....and he'll need even more should Saban and Dabo lock horns in the CFP final.
Oh, God...here we go again. More "Bama stoppers" from the mighty Midwest. Inferior athleticism, inadequate team speed, insufficient depth. I doubt that either of those teams could come within 30 points of The Tide on their best day. Film doesn't lie.