Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Saban Names Co-Starters at QB for Crimson Tide, Revolutionizes Tide Offense

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The people who first reported the Tide's Starter being named last year, we bring you breaking news on the Tide's new offensive system and depth chart.

Few people question Nick Saban's ability as a defensive genius. His stops around the country at Michigan State, LSU, and Alabama have been marked with some of the very best defensive units and a laundry list of NFL draft picks. He is one of only two active coaches to win a Championship at two different schools. 

However, in what has become a calling card of the fans from Tuscaloosa, winning is never good enough. Sure, the Tide have three National Championships since Saban arrived in 2008. Sure, they have spent more time at Number One than every other team combined. And despite the fact that the Tide has almost as many homes losses as national championships, fans just can't be made happy. The defense isn't good enough. The offense isn't good enough. The special teams? Just take a look at their field goal statistics in the last few years, culminating in the epic Kick-Six fiasco in 2014. 

For this reason, many pundits have speculated that coach Saban was "burning out" on coaching in Tuscaloosa. The pressure from the fanbase to be perfect each and every year was becoming more than he could stand. It's true that the pressure seems to have gotten to the Tide head coach at times, leading to some baffling defensive breakdowns on defense so epic and strange that an outsider may question if he really is the best defensive mind in the game.

While most fans couldn't tell you the over-all win-loss record of each of his years at the Capstone, the number of times the Tide defense has been ranked as the best in the country, they can tell you all about his shortcomings in the 2013 Iron Bowl, or the 2010 Meltdown in T-Town, or the most recent travesty that was the College Football Playoff Semi-Final game. 

Even though the man is the most powerful person in the state, it would appear that he is cowering to his fans. Instead of sticking with what works, the fanbase wants what everyone else has: an innovative offense from the last millennium, despite having more wins and championships than anyone else in the last 20 years. It isn't good enough just to win with dominating defensive performances to the tune of 24-10. They want epic beatdowns every week. Points. And lots of them. 

It is ironic that the fans have clamored for offensive change as opposed to a defensive retooling. The change began in 2014 when coach Saban hosted recently-told-to-find-another-ride-home Lane Kiffin. Just weeks into the bromance, Kiffin was hired to become the Tide's offensive coordinator. Yet, after the beat down at the hands of Ohio State and its third-string QB, just weeks removed from giving up a record 630 yards to a struggling Auburn team, fans wanted MORE offensive change. It's almost like they didn't realize that the 2014 offensive unit WASN'T one of the very worst in Alabama's history and was instead the very best in the modern era. They certainly have no respect for "that good for nothing Sims" who set almost every offensive record at Alabama including the "most undervalued" and "most despised" quarterback. And, instead of blaming the defense and the man at the helm of it who is supposedly the very best in the game, they want MORE changes on offense. 

Coach Saban's style of coaching, with monstrously sized defenders, down-hill rushing attack and game-managing quarterback has been called archaic, despite having won so many games that the current generation of Alabama fans don't know what losing back-to-back games is like. As mentioned, fans don't remember the wins. They only remember the losses. And, most surprisingly, they want to be more like the few teams that beat the Tide rather than to continue being the team that typically wins. 

Coach Saban's thoughts on the hurry up no huddle offense have been widely publicized. When he couldn't legislate around the apparent advantage that only some teams employed, he went to the presses with ideals on player safety. Amazingly, the only other coach in his corner was Brett "the whiner" Bilema. 

Yet, in 2014, the Kiffin hire found the Tide offense operating more like the offenses he hates than the methodical plodding offenses he had employed. But, the transition wasn't complete. Winning wasn't good enough. Having seen other teams with electric offenses play, they wanted more change. They want to see the multi-picture signs, though that may be more an indictment on their predispositions as simpletons similar to a Labrador chasing a squirrel than understanding the in-game aspect. Indeed, those very signs began to show up in practices in scrimmages. 

2015 has been marked with little movement in the depth chart at the quarterback position. In 2014, Coker was a sure-fire Heisman finalist. Instead of booking tickets to New York, he was stuck holding the play book in between garbage time appearances for one-time running back Sims. Along the way, he managed to throw to the other team more than his own. Cornwell and "that other guy" haven't made any moves to supplant Coker. Barnett, a true freshman, has made headway despite his little time on campus. Yet, there is a bottle neck at the top between this collection of four and five star players from across the nation. It's simply amazing that a collection of star heavy players, all specifically recruited to be the next superstar in Tuscaloosa, have been unable to replace a converted running back who is currently seeking out a team in the CFL in any capacity possible. Something has to change. Fans aren't going to stand for another game manager who manages to make all the right calls, limit turnovers, and move the team efficiently down the field, albeit slowly. 

That change has arrived in the fall camp of 2015, and not just the multi-picture signs featuring Paul Finebaum rubbing Saban's shoulders, Big Al's flaccid trunk and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority complete with  a pair of brown bro-girl boots, quasi-maxi dress/shirt? and seven different varieties of houndstooth Louis Vuitton knock-off purses.  

Coach Saban, in a massive role reversal, won't be the imitator anymore. Instead, he will be the innovator. Where dual threat QBs have been all the rage across the country, and the downfall to many a Tide team, Saban will take the dual-threat offense to the next level.

That's where Kiffin's genius comes in. Alabama's recruiting has been the very best in the nation since Saban arrived in Northport. While it hasn't managed to translate to the dominance on the field that it is on Rivals, Kiffin believes that it must be a product of misusing talent. Kiffin came up with an ingenious idea. 

Why not put them all on the field TOGETHER? 

With the Tide's number of recruiting stars at the QB position, there is no chance that opposing teams can defend against 16-18 recruiting stars at the same time. And, in typical Tide fashion, a team should never misuse scholarships. There are ten greyshirt players waiting for their chance. Why spend full rides on a QB who sits the bench for four years? Redshirting? That's for suckers. It keeps players from entering the NFL as early as possible wqhile limiting their ability to get an education and develop their skills. By the way, players in the NFL is another made up championship the Tide claims on top of their made up National Championships and National Signing Day Championships. They are typically used in years when Alabama doesn't win a National Championship and quickly forgotten, as are their NFL draft picks. Lastly, all of the QBs inability to be decisisve in the pocket can be solved. Though not a single one has a QBs head on their shoulders, together the five make up at least the decision making ability of Nick Marshall, who couldn't seem to make a wrong call in his two years against the Tide, despite being oft criticized by Tide fans as, shall we say, not so smart. 

Coker has the strongest arm of the group, but he lacks the ability to check down after his first and second progression. Cornwell doesn't have a great arm, but he doesn't throw it to the other team quite as much as Coker. "That other guy" is somewhat in the middle of the two, so snapping to him will really throw defenses off. Having Barnett on the field will give him the best "birds-eye view" for learning the system so that he can become the next Heisman bust like Coker. If you are going to emulate, emulate the best. That's why they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Defenses won't know where the ball is going. Only that it is going to a defender...somewhere. 

How will they field all four or five quarterbacks and still only have eleven players on the field? Simple. They will take all the receivers off the field. After all, Amari Cooper is in the NFL, there isn't any consistent player to replace him, and the QBs have thrown more INTs in one scrimmage than the converted running back threw all year in 2014. And, in 3rd and long, they will pull OJ Howard off the field, since he doesn't really want to catch the ball anyway. Just see the Ole Miss loss last year. 

Saban has so much faith in his defense that if Kiffin can't get a first down running Derrick Henry up the middle on first and second down, Kiffin will strategize which QB to utilize to throw an INT to the other team, based on their throwing ability.  God knows they don't want to kick the ball. 

For more hilarity, read  Why Aubie is a Better Mascot than Big AL