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The wait is over. Around the nation, college football fans everywhere all wanted the answer to one question.
This morning, they finally received an answer.
For the last 3 years, the Crimson Tide had an entrenched starter in A.J. McCarron, who led them to 2 National Championships and countless wins. With his departure, the team would once again look for a new starter. Most fans didn't seem to concerned at the lack of an heir apparent to the coveted position at the Tide's helm. 2 of the 3 National Championships that had been won in the last 5 years had been conquered with a new starter under center. Furthermore, Coach Saban had been stockpiling 5 Star talent at ever position, including the most important position on the field.
While the dual threat quarterback is not new in college football, only in the last few years have the Tide fans begun to take notice, most certainly during the 2010 season. Until that point, the dual threat QB was criticized by Tide fans as hokey, covering up for personnel shortcomings elsewhere on the field. The play calling was pure trickeration, plays meant to deceive instead of lining up and smashing the ball like it was 1897. Instead of 11 on 11, best man win....offenses built on finding mismatches in space. After the 2013 Iron Bowl, the fanbase was rabid for a player who could electrify a crowd with just one play. The fact is, however, that Coach Saban had been recruiting such players since he arrived in Tuscaloosa. The problem was, these players simply didn't work out, see Star Jackson.
This could be the reason that Saban performed one of the oddest hires in the history of college football. He hired Lane Kiffin. Though Kiffin's struggles as a head coach are well documented, the fact is that he has coached some of the best offenses in the history of college football. Saban needed a spark to this offense, although it is ironic that a change was needed in the first place. Though the Tide offense is often criticized for being boring by fans, it has actually had years of explosiveness, such as the 2012 squad. Even the statistics say that the Tide has been one of the most efficient offenses in the league. But, hey, what the fans want. The fans get.
Yet, the Tide exited spring camp without naming a starter. Simms, a player who had been in The System and part of The Process for several years, seemed to be the easy choice to replace McCarron, yet the game play at A-Day from Simms (and the rest of the Tide QBs) was shaky at best. Additionally, grumblings from the fan base began to emerge, reaching a level that echoed across the College Football nation. Crimson Tide fans wanted to see a dynamic player under center. They had grown weary of the almost boring gameplay that centered around a game manager at QB, handing the ball off to a 5 Star and future NFL running back, or pulling it down and throwing it deep to another 5 Star NLF talent receiver after play-action. They wanted to see a team keep up with modern college football. And, it shouldn't be Bama following the footsteps of fledgling programs like the Oregon Ducks, who modernized the fast-paced offense. It should be Bama on the cutting edge.
In a shocking turn of events, FSU backup Jacob Coker, who took Heisman Winner Jameis Winston to the wire for the starting job in Tallahassee, announced that he would transfer to the University of Alabama. With the recent success of transfers, such as Russell Wilson and the despised Scam Newton, the Tide fan base began construction of the newest statue outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium. After all, if Auburn could turn Tebows backup into a Heisman winner, then certainly the Process could do the same.
The transfer sent shockwaves through the College football world, and despite losing the last two games, losing several NFL draft picks on defense and having one of the worst rated offensive lines in the SEC, the media pinned Alabama as the Number 2 team in the Nation. Both the AP and the USA poll have the Tide penciled in as the #2 team in the nation. Coker was named the consensus starter by fans and media before he had packed his bags in Tallahassee.
And yet, at the end of Fall camp, Coker nor Simms were named as starter.
Instead, a dark horse emerged.
Adam Griffith was named the starting QB for the Crimson Tide.
Most every fan knows Griffith. If you do not, click here to see his profile.
Here are the stats:
Fans across Alabama are left scratching their heads .
That's right, Number 99 will be the starter. It fits, since that is the number of National Championships that the Tide claim.
Fear not, Coach Saban says. This is all part of the Process.
When questioned about this decision, Coach Saban pointed to the past. With the Crimson Tide ranked so highly the Tide needed a starter with experience. Not just game experience against cupcake teams, but a player with SEC experience. They didn't have to look far to find a player who had played in the pressure cooker of the SEC West. Neither Coker nor Simms had taken a snap against SEC competition. Simms, specifically, had never seen SEC competition despite being on the sidelines in some very one-sided competitions. Instead, McCarron had remained in the game against the bottom dwellers of the SEC West while Simms held the clipboard. Though many fans had not-so-quietly grumbled about this, Saban and Kiffin had a plan all along.
All Saban has to do is point to the Iron Bowl. Saban has been holding the ultimate card in his back pocket, though he flashed it just briefly on November 30th 2013. Despite having a veteran senior kicker who had scored countless points for the Tide, Saban called upon Griffith to come off the bench and win the game in a single play. Why play Coker or Simms when he has a player who had won perhaps the greatest college football game in history?
And so he did, in amazing fashion.
Saban wants a tough, physical, and versatile QB under center starting in 2014. Griffith can take a hit, something that Tide QBs have struggled with in past seasons. Just see the Iron Bowl where Griffith walked off a devastating hit from Gabe Wright. Versatile? Griffith is the only player on the roster who can score for both teams on any play.
Sure, it sounds like questionable calls for college footballs best coach. But, he's never had a bad call yet. And though most of college football raised their eyebrows at the Kiffin hire, a coach who either melt your program to the ground or succeed....shortly before melting down your program, Saban defers the decision to Kiffin's expertise and sublime decision making abilities.
When asked about his decision, Kiffin simply stated that there isn't a QB on the roster that can score from anywhere on the field like Griffith. There isn't a place on the field out of reach for Griffith. Sure, he can hit extra points and chip shot field goals. But only Griffith can score 6 when others score 3. According to expert analyst Chad Wright, while Oregon may be known for being the fastest scoring team in America, they are surpassed only by Griffith in scoring speed. The average scoring drive is only....youdon'tcaretheyaren'tSEC.... seconds. Griffith dwarfs the Ducks as the only player who can cover 109 yards and score game winning TDs in a single second.
And that's why Griffith is your 2014 Alabama Crimson Tide Starter.