Adapt or die

Man, when you’ve lost Nick Saban…

59 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

59 responses to “Adapt or die

  1. You could also make the case that Bama’s offense has hurt its defense in both physicality and fundamentals. Sure, the Tide lost some players to injury this year, but this Alabama defense wasn’t even close to Saban’s standard.

    If we’re going down this path, I really hope Kirby is trying to understand how you keep a tough, physical edge balanced with what is likely to be a more finesse style offense.

    Like

    • The other Doug

      Bama’s defense hasn’t looked the same since Smart and Pruitt left.

      Liked by 2 people

    • addr

      Or it could be that they haven’t lapped everyone else in recruiting like they have in the past, they were decimated by injuries before the season ever started, and the coordinator has been a revolving door.

      I’m sure there is some truth to the offense protecting the defense narrative, but IMHO it’s way overblown. Teams like Ohio State and Clemson manage to have top offense and defense every year running modern offense, so it certainly isn’t a truism that a high powered offense precludes effective defense.

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      • Derek

        This is what annoys me.

        Just because OSU scores over 40 points a game DOES NOT mean they are running a “modern offense.” They ain’t.

        Our offense is far more “modern.”

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      • It’s not about the offense protecting the defense. I’ve been consistent this year commenting on how Kirby seems to have played this year that way with the offense. It’s about having a physical mindset on both sides of the ball. Bama didn’t dominate physically on the defensive side of the ball this year. Some of that was due to injuries, but I would also say that their defense wasn’t as fundamentally sound as they have been in the past. The only 2 games where they played teams with equal talent they gave up 46 at home to LSU and 48 at Auburn. That ain’t Alabama defense. We would be excoriating Kirby and Lanning for those performances.

        Liked by 1 person

    • ASEF

      They lost a ton to the NFL, and then injuries hit big time. Add in Kirby and Pruitt bringing their recruiting back down to Earth.

      They ended up with four true freshmen starters in the front 7, including both ILBs, with 3 more true freshman getting heavy minutes as backups.

      They did better against LSU than Clemson did, fwiw.

      The best way to protect your D these days is get a lead and force teams to play catch up.

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      • 1smartdude

        Just the number of ACL injuries to LB’s over the last few years for Bama is staggering when you look at the numbers and the names. That position has been the key in their defense, especially during the Kirby era. I’m not sold the change in offense is what’s responsible for the decline in defensive production. Too many freshmen on the field is more than likely the cause this season.

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    • Michael

      Bama is a whopping two years removed from having the #1 defense in the country by a significant margin.

      https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ncaadef/2017

      They managed that in their second year of the transition to the spread with Jalen Hurts as the QB. They were also #1 in defense in 2016, which was year one of the transition. After his defenses got torn up by Manziel and Hugh Freeze’s Ole Miss, Saban figured out that a modern college offense with a dual threat QB was damn near impossible to stop, so the only way to keep up was to have one of his own. I’m sure that the two title games against Deshaun Watson confirmed his thinking. He abandoned the idea of winning titles with Jacob Coker or AJ McCarron.

      But what would Saban know about building a winning team?

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  2. 3rdandGrantham

    It feels like he’s talking directly to Smart and/or thumbing his nose at him. Hell, he probably IS.

    As some know I’m a big Smart supporter, but his stubbornness and occasional shortsightedness can drive you nuts. For ex, he goes on and on about physicality, imposing your will, and making them quit. Yet after losses he’ll say, ‘this is the SEC…if you think you’re gonna come in and simply push people around, you’re mistaken.’

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Terry Crews

    Someone send this to Kirby

    Like

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    History repeats itself. Bear and Vince adopted option offenses in mid career. Vince abandoned it in 78.

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    • Mayor

      When Vince quit using the veer in 78 he was quoted as saying that offense scored too fast. Really!

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      • Macallanlover

        LOL. I remember a lot about those Vince years but scoring too much, or fast, must be a part of my memory bank that has left the building.

        Not accepting that this scoring boom in CFB will be with us until there is some balance restored between offense and defense is like defending the earth is flat theories centuries ago. You cannot measure success, on either side of ball, against last century’s barometers. The only commonality between the past and present is you have to very good on both sides of the ball (see UGA’s offensive shortcoming this year, or the opposite in 2012, and OU’s lack of defense for the past 3 years).

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  5. Anonymous

    Cue a Derek comment about how we still have no viable option but to tweak our offense around the edges. You know that Nick Saban – he doesn’t believe in protecting the football, playing tough defense, and being physical!

    Liked by 1 person

      • gastr1

        https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28472520/how-survive-nfl-playoffs-how-ravens-failed-chiefs-came-back

        An insightful article, IMO. “Saturday was a treasure for people who argue that the NFL has prematurely abandoned the run…Tannehill became the first quarterback since Terry Bradshaw in 1974 to win two playoff games in the same postseason while failing to throw for 100 yards in either victory…Sunday flipped things back the other way. The Chiefs scored seven consecutive touchdowns to launch their comeback.”

        By the way, Derrick Henry is 6’3″/238. “Zeus” is 6’0″/216.

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        • ASEF

          Derrick is an anomaly. A fun as hell to watch anomaly, but that kind of bulk, length, speed and vision is something I have never seen before.

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          • gastr1

            I agree. Ultimately you really can’t play that way unless you have that guy. But it is a beautiful thing when you have him. Who didn’t enjoy him bullying the Patriots?

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            • Derek

              http://www.nfl.com/stats/team?seasonId=2019&seasonType=REG

              The numbers say that running the ball is more correlated to success than any other statistic. In 2019.

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              • gastr1

                Just from the “top 5” in each category that comes up when you click the link, the total defense top 5 had more wins than any other category. Not that it’s all that simple, IMO; but nonetheless…how do you figure?

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                • Derek

                  You don’t see the “complete list” button beneath each top 5?

                  7 of the top ten rushing teams made the playoffs.
                  7 of the top ten passing offenses missed the playoffs.
                  5 of the top ten defenses missed the playoffs.

                  No statistic correlated to success more than rtdb.

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                  • gastr1

                    I didn’t look at the complete list, no, that’s what I’m saying. Thanks–I was curious how you arrived at that, that’s all.

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                    • Texas Dawg

                      When you look at Oklahoma, it is the running game that makes them go. It is easier to run when you spread them out a little and don’t have 7,8,9 in the box and try to run it up the middle each and every time.

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                    • Derek

                      Oklahoma’s issue is that they can’t win even a “light” box vs. good opponents. That and they apparently think tackling gives you AIDS.

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          • Derek

            What sets henry apart is his conditioning. Typically big backs aren’t in that sort of shape. If all he could handle were 15-19 carries he wouldn’t be the player that he is. Closest thing to Herschel I’ve seen since. Just lacks the top end speed. But he’s plenty fast enough.

            Don’t know what led to that flip but that recruiting class sealed CMR’s fate. Bama gets Henry. Clemson gets Watson. We get Brice Ramsey.

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            • Scorpio Jones, III

              He’s still too big to play tailback.

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              • Derek

                FO!

                I should have been watching him work out before I made such premature pronouncements.

                I didn’t think he had quick enough feet. He was getting lots if 0 gains and lost yardage carries his first two years.

                Drake going down allowed him to get the 30+ carries he needs.

                Mea culpa, mea culpa!!! There was that 1 time i was wrong!!!

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                • Texas Dawg

                  “Mea culpa, mea culpa!!! There was that 1 time i was wrong!!!”

                  I hope everybody took a screen shot of that admission. We may never see it again

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                  • Derek

                    Actually I’m wrong on a daily basis. I have no problem admitting it. You can’t hope to get anywhere near the truth if you aren’t willing to question your own bullshit.

                    A stubborn insistence on being right no matter the facts is the worst kind of stupid.

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            • ASEF

              Top end speed?

              His acceleration in his first three steps was among the highest ever recorded at the combine across all positions. And he’s hit 21+ mph on long runs a couple of times. Which is Tyrese Hill level fast.

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          • Greg

            google a fellow named Calvin Hill………

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  6. DawgByte

    This narrative that Kirby is too stubborn or can’t adapt to the modern game is not accurate. Kirby is well aware of both his players strengths and weaknesses and has built his offensive and defensive schemes around his personnel.

    For three years he’s had a non-mobile QB and an exodus of Junior offensive talent that could have helped his field general be more productive. With addition of Newman and Beck there isn’t a single QB on Georgia’s roster that can’t run the ball when needed.

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    • 1smartdude

      If he wanted to move to a different scheme, he certainly had the opportunity when he landed the highest ranked player ever at UGA. I still believe mismanaging Fields is the single biggest mistake he’s made.

      Like

      • “I still believe mismanaging Fields is the single biggest mistake he’s made.”

        Tell us what Kirby should have done differently in 2018. The Fields family knew exactly what they were getting into when Justin enrolled at UGA in January 2018. Nothing occurred in 2018 to indicate Justin Fields was a better choice at QB than Jake Fromm.

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        • stoopnagle

          I definitely do not fall into the pro-Fields camp. I think Kirby had a choice in 2018 and both options had merit. I mean, you just played for the national title; sure, let’s blow it up and go with a freshman QB.

          That said, Fields should have played a lot more at LSU in 2018. Fromm was off if not awful. If he were ever going to give Fields a shot, it was that game. And he didn’t play hardly at all — if he even saw the field — I don’t recall.

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          • I think he ran some zone read stuff. I don’t remember either.

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          • Derek

            Two things: 1) shockley saved our ass vs. clemson one year, but otherwise did little to help, and a lot to hurt, coming off the bench. 2) the one time we saw that dynamic work was when UF had Tebow packages in RZ and short yardage and brought Leak out.

            Never understood why we didn’t replicate that. Especially as much trouble as we had in those two situational spots.

            #1 gets some tds and some success in that role and maybe he comes back. Anyway, i wish we had the kid. Special talent.

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        • dawgman3000

          Where is the proof that he left because he wasn’t the starter? Jake was fresh off of a national championship game appearance so he knew the odds of him starting had to be slim. Could it be that he left because of the piss poor way the coaches were using him and then proceed to be thrown under the bus by his head coach because of a bone headed failed fake punt call that Stevie Wonder seem coming?

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          • Oh, I think that as well. I’m only asking the question of what specifically should have been done differently to manage his playing time.

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            • dawgman3000

              Let him run the offense in garbage time ,which there was quite a bit of that season.
              Let him play at Red Stick when it obvious that Jake was struggling in that game.
              Don’t blame him publicly for a horrible fake that should have never been called in the first place.

              If 1 & 2 happens and 3 doesn’t, there’s a decent chance he would be our stater next season unless Jake decided to stay for his senior year.

              Like

              • The only game where he didn’t get a chance to run the offense in garbage time was the infamous South Carolina game when he was caught on camera making the comment about handing off. Honestly, in many of the games, he was getting 1st half reps.

                APU – 7-8-63-1-0 3-33-0
                USC – 1-1-8-0-0. 1-3-0
                MTSU – 6-8-71-1-0. 3-31-1
                MIZZ (did not play significant minutes)
                TENN 1-2-5-0-0. 5-46-2
                VU 3-6-53-0-0. 4-24-0
                LSU (did not play significant minutes)
                UF (did not play significant minutes – don’t believe he played)
                UK – no passing. 6-27-0
                AU – 2-2-20-0-0. 5-(-12)-0 (if I remember he took a bad sack in that game)
                UM – 5-8-121-2-0. 7-100-1
                GT – 2-3-(-13)-0-0. 3-10-0

                Should Kirby have given him more opportunity in BR? Probably.

                Should Kirby have covered for him in the SECG? Probably.

                None of that changes my mind that his father decided he was leaving in October and anOSU was tampering.

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        • Down Island Way

          1smart…mismanagement does not apply to CKS, ojt does apply to CKS, short of an injury (and you know this) CKS IS NOT going to make change at qb (this is not a hind sight view) if all comp was equal in the spring / fall camps, no change is coming…UGA is crootin’ at a high level due to attrition/injuries/graduation/playing time…i do believe if Jake from state Fromm had started to misfire regularly, a replacement was coming in, WTF dude two 5 * ‘s and one football….

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  7. ASEF

    You’re going to have to beat at least one offense like LSU’s and maybe two to win a national championship. Last year it was Oklahoma and Alabama setting records. This year is was LSU, with Alabama’s right there until Tua got hurt.

    Building a team that can win both a shootout game (gonna have one every year, somewhere) and an old fashioned cage match is hard work. A little luck helps too.

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  8. Mick Jagger

    Just hoping the Dawgs hated being at home watching the game instead of being there.

    Also, hoping Kirby noticed what Coach O/LSU has done with their offense.

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  9. Silver Creek Dawg

    It took Lane Kiffin as Alabama OC to change Saban’s mindset.

    Who will be Kirby’s Joey Freshwater?

    Like

  10. Mayor

    Somebody send this video to Kirby…..PLEASE!!!

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  11. stoopnagle

    He’s just trying to trick Kirby, the liar.

    Like

  12. CEPH

    Watch the coaches of the great teams. They don’t run around on the sidelines getting involved in every huddle (special teams, offensive, etc.etc) they let the assistants coach. Kirby is running around with his pants puller in tow. To be perfectly frank it is embarrassing. Coaching won that game last night, lack of coaching cost us a shot at two championships

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    • Derek

      You never see Saban get involved.

      You trying to set a “land stupid record?”

      Like

      • ASEF

        That was for a direct-snap-to-the-WR-in-motion play call up 40 on some rent-a-W. Fumble, lost.

        So, no he wasn’t involved with the play call. Just erupted after it. And Saban was probably still pissed Lane had Coker take another deep shot on their final drive against Ole Miss (pick) rather than just feeding Henry against a completely gassed Ole Miss front 7. Not sure he ever got over that one.

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        • Derek

          I’d be willing to bet the one that lives in Sabanss head forever is the shot call Lane made vs. OSU.

          Bama had just pounded it down their throats for TD. They force a bad three and out. OSU has a terrible shank punt. Bama has it on like their 28 and about to own the game.

          Lane has Sims chuck one up to the TE on a flag. FS undercuts the route and that was all she wrote.

          Their is a fine line between aggressive and losing football.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Macallanlover

        There is a big difference between being a micro-manager and an aloof CEO. Of course Saban gets involved some, and holds subordinates accountable for their decisions (as with Junior here), but the Laner did make the decision.

        I would be very happy to have Kirby turn loose enough to allow coordinators to succeed or fail as opposed to wonder if they can even add/tweak minor issues in scheme, game planning, or call a play and timeout. We sit here wondering if Coley has decided to abandon the entire middle of the field for a season, or if that is Kirby’s mandate to avoid turnovers because he so conservative. And who was responsible for taking the ball out of Fromm and Sony’s hands in the 4th Qtr of the title game in Bama 2nd and 26? Our coordinators are currently treated like true freshman and protected from public responses, way over the top to me.

        Like

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