Deep breath time

Fans have tons of advice for Nick Saban on hiring an assistant coach.

Thank God, Nick Saban doesn’t have time for this shit. He isn’t going to name a coach based on popularity. He is going to pick a coach based on what works for him. Leadership is like that; leaders don’t stick a finger into the air and see which way the wind is blowing. Leaders pick a direction and get everyone moving in the same direction.

Fans have a right to be concerned, and share thoughts on who should or shouldn’t be named a coordinator. It is fine for fans to even talk about offensive philosophies. However, fans take things to an extreme. Peruse fan message boards, or even my email, and you’ll see fans screaming about how bad Joe Pendry is or how lame a conservative I-formation offense might be.

The best Alabama bloggers here and here are almost unanimously opposed to “NFL minded, risk averse play caller(s).”

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However, this is a great chance for me to point out something John Madden said many times about how easy it is to take big gambles in football, “In coaching, sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do. Sometimes you just have to kick the field goal.”

Today everyone says you must score points to win in modern college football.

They said the same thing in 1992, when Alabama won with defense.

I’m going back to one big comment I’ve made over and over about Mike Shula’s offense. It worked.

In fact, Shula’s offense racked up lots of yardage on most SEC opponents. The problem was scoring in the red zone, which was a result of conditioning, execution and leadership—NOT OFFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY.

Any offense will work, provided you block and execute. Some offenses exploit and expose defensive weaknesses better.

You can win with any offense if you block and tackle better than the opposition (and of course have very good talent.)

Fans should relax. The offense can only improve in 2008 regardless of who is calling the plays.

Quick Note: has released its preseason Top 25. Alabama comes in at #24: 24. Alabama  2007 Record: 7-6   
Nick Saban’s first season was supposed to be about building towards the future, and now the future has to be now. The offensive line has the potential to be the best in the SEC, while all the top running backs, and QB John Parker Wilson, return in the backfield. The receiving corps has to replace D.J. Hall and Matt Caddell, while the defense has to find replacement for end Wallace Gilberry, two linebackers and top CB Simeon Castille.


Add Yours
  1. 1

    I get your point, but I think the game’s just different from what it was in ’92. I wish it weren’t so, but it is. Like one of the big football analysis sites says: you no longer run to win – You win to run. It’s much more egregious in the NFL, but it’s turned the corner in CFB as well.

  2. 2

    Everyone said the same thing in the late 80’s and 90’s. Herb Winches was saying when Stallings was hired he’d never win with a 60/40 run to pass offense. All the experts said the pass was the future.

    And of course, it was the same with the pro-style offenses of the 1960’s.

    Then came the wishbone and option attacks of the 70’s and early 80’s.

    Football is cyclical. 20 years from now, we’ll probably be talking about stopping some variation of the wishbone and how the pass is obsolete.

    It still comes down to knocking the other guy on his butt; so, all you have to do is block, tackle and take care of the football to win.

    BTW, in Green Bay’s playoff win over Seattle. Farve had less than 200 yards passing, but Grant notched over 200 yards rushing. What does that mean? I’d say it means you run an offense that lets you exploit what the other team gives you. I think you can do that from spread, I-formation, wishbone, etc…etc.

    But that’s just my fervent opinion. Your mileage may vary.

  3. 3

    True Cap.

    I think the best teams nowadays have found ways to make their pass plays act like running plays. Take the Patriots, Brady had an amazing completion percentage this past game. Now, he is a fantastic QB, but a majority of his passes were short passes that were effective because of the yards after the catch.

    Yes, the Patriots may not run the ball the conventional way 30 times a game, but they certainly incorporate it in an interesting way.

    Of course, we’re not New England, and this is college, so there should be some differences.

  4. 4

    Well, if you recall, Green Bay had no running game whatsoever for much of the season until Grant emerged. They were a playoff team without him. Bottom line is: The offense runs off of Favre like it always has. And Brady. And Manning. As posted above, NE knows how to use the pass like the run to keep a defense on its heels and on the field. It’s the same effect. I thought for the longest time that it was no way to run a series, much less a game – but the evidence is just too strong. IIRC, these last few NFL seasons have been record-breaking in terms of passing yds and points. That is not a fad. It is the here and now. Urban Meyer is doing it, AU just hired Tony Franklin to do it – time to stop being luddites.

  5. 5

    I kind of agree guys. If I picked an offense, it would most likely look something like the Raiders under Madden or Cowboys under Johnson. I-formation with lots of deep passes….I firmly believe you have have to throw deep to win because it stretches the defense and helps the run. I think you must have a sophisticated passing attack that utilizes the fullback, tailback, and tight end in receiving and pass protection.

    One other note though…Looking back at NFL stats, Y.A. Tittle in 1963 threw for 3,145 yards and 36 TDs. Johnny Unitas had 3,481 yards and 20 TDs. Norm Stead of Washington threw for 3,043 yards and 27 tds.

    Sure Peyton and Brady and Farve are amazing, but the past quarterbacks didn’t do all that bad either. Plus the rules today favor offenses over defenses.

    BTW, when did the spread offense get developed? wasn’t it like 1958? Like I said, football is cyclical.

  6. 6

    When I see a national contender running some variation on the Notre Dame Box (which is a pretty fun offense to watch – my high school ran it), then I’ll be sold on the cyclical nature of the sport. But while I think a good scheme that takes advantage of the way the rules are structured is important, I’ll agree that the personnel we get and how we can get them to execute is much more important (just not to the point of totally excluding of a good scheme). LSU was able to get by without good execution all year – as evidenced by the numerous unforced penalties they racked up. With the horses they had, THEY could’ve gotten by on the Notre Dame Box. And we all know who recruited the lead horses.

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