About last night

Confession time:  I changed my pick in the Fabris Pool at the last minute and went with ‘Bama to cover, because I saw a cryptic Kirk Herbstreit quote that Ohio State had a fairly serious injury situation it was dealing with at game time.  It did turn out that two starters on the defensive line were out, along with the starting kicker, but the main thing was Justin Fields was obviously nowhere in the vicinity of 100% healthy.

That all being said, the biggest issue of the night had nothing to do with health.  It was Ohio State’s complete inability to cover DaVonta Smith.  It’s not like they didn’t know what they were dealing with, either.

Someone posted a comment to the effect that on defense this season, the Buckeyes pretty much played in their base set all the time, counting on being able to out-athlete the opposition.  That may have worked before, but facing a team with NFL-level talent at the skill position and an NFL offensive coordinator, it wasn’t the best way to approach last night.  Sarkisian did a brilliant job getting his best player open time and time again and OSU never adjusted.

This play in particular made me shake my head in admiration:

Weirdly enough, and maybe it’s just me, but it reminded me of this play call of Jim Chaney’s, in the 2018 Tech game.  Yeah, I know, but I have to think Mac Jones’ eyes must have lit up the exact same way Jake Fromm’s did when he saw the alignment of a linebacker on a fast receiver in the slot.

Anyway, there was nothing cheap about that win and I won’t be sorry to see guys like Smith, Harris and Jones plying their wares in the NFL next season.

36 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Strategery And Mechanics

36 responses to “About last night

  1. Ran A

    First game of the season, Bama scored 38 points against Missouri and gave up 19 – 19 point difference. After that, they did not score under 40 for the rest of the season until the ND game, where they scored 31 and only winning that game by 17. UF was the only team within single digits, only losing by 6. Where I’m sure Bammers would point out that this game was pretty much over at half time, explaining some of the points given up.

    I have never watched a football game, where it actually made me feel better about a Georgia defense ‘only’ giving up 41 points. Comforting myself that we had the lead at half time and they had a healthy Waddle in this game. And while I’m not one of the Justin Fields haters, there was comfort in watching his poor performance (I think Bama’s defense and team speed was a bigger factor than being hurt -he was hurting more when playing against Clemson), actually gave me some comfort knowing that he and T-Law and Jones were all off to the NFL. That while Kirby was very late to the party, he likely had the right offense and the correct bevy of QB’S to compete in today’s game. And I took comfort in the fact that GOAT turns 70 next Halloween. And while he shows no sign of slowing down; you can only keep that pace for so long. (To be clear, I hope the man lives to be a 100). I like Saban, I’ll like him a lot better when he is popping up on SEC Nation talking about the glory years and writing books and dropping in on Kirby with advice.

    Weird night… Watching Bama dismantle OSU was ‘again’ rather comforting. Knowing yet another SEC team (granted most have been Bama) was the National Champion yet again was comforting. They can hate the SEC all they want; inside, they all wish they had SEC talent, with SEC support and truly loved the game of football like the SEC does.

    So congrats to Bama – it is well deserved. And let’s hope this time next year, Georgia is carrying the banner for the conference as National Champions. I’m comforted with the fact that they are as well positioned as they have ever been to make a run (but got to fix the secondary).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. timphd

    Looked to me (I only watched the first half) like Ohio St had never heard of the whell route either. Bama ran some version of it over and over to wide open running backs and receivers all night and OSU never adjusted. Leaving Najee or Smith in open space is dumb but they never seemed to be able to figure that out. Looked like UGA trying to cover the wheel route.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Down Island Way

    Very curious as to what those peeps in texas think they are getting in their new hc, that position/manager/ceo is a whole lot bigger than your typical P 5 hc position, he may have schemed tosu out of the state of FLA, may have upped longhorn expectation bar a little higher than need be….

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  4. gotthepicture

    Sarkisian did a great job of getting Bama’s numerous playmakers spots to get the ball and do what they do best, but IMO Ohio State’s reliance on base defense giving up unders or as Herbie said multiple times last night, a 4-4 look, was the biggest factor Bama could just move down the field at will. I was amazed at the cushion Smith had most of the time, in addition to the play mentioned in the original post. When OSU manned-up and played tight, they actually stopped a few passes. Maybe that was because of players out, but it was perplexing and satisfying.

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    • miltondawg

      Sark was nothing short of brilliant last night. The way that they would run plays that were set up by plays that looked similar from earlier in the game, the ND game, and the SECCG was amazing. OSU’s DC was nothing short of perplexing. Staying in a base Cover 3 all night was almost like throwing up their hands and saying there is nothing we can do.

      On more than one occasion early in the game they would run a receiver in motion and the corner would follow (having to run at full speed to catch up) and then on the snap they would flip the ball to the motion man and the corner was never in position to make an immediate stop. What that showed Sark evidently was that OSU wasn’t going bring the center safety down into the box to pick up the motion receiver and leave the corner where he was (which would be a much better way to defend those plays). So what does Sark do? Later in the game start Smith in motion and once the corner was again running at full speed Smith stopped on a dime and sprinted back towards his original position. Corner never had a chance to also stop and get back and it was an easy pitch and catch and run to the pylon. The small adjustment by the DC to leave the corner in place and bring the center safety into the box in the direction the motion receiver was moving would have at least given OSU better angles and an ability to not have the corner chasing all night.

      Maybe the DC didn’t seem to notice on film that it was going to be a problem to play base since Bama’s athletes are as good if not better than OSU’s (unlike every other game but Clemson this year). Good on Sark for dissecting them all night with players running through holes in the Cover 3 scheme. It was a clinic to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theotherdoug

        “Later in the game start Smith in motion and once the corner was again running at full speed Smith stopped on a dime and sprinted back towards his original position. Corner never had a chance to also stop and get back and it was an easy pitch and catch and run to the pylon.”

        If we don’t see a version of that move next season Monken is incompetent, and I don’t think he’s incompetent. It was basically impossible to defend without a big adjustment in coverage/assignments.

        All night Bama got the ball to their WRs and they were able to beat OSU to the edge. Some of it was speed but a lot of it was scheme.

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  5. dawgman3000

    Define unstoppable.

    2020 Alabama offense.

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  6. practicaldawg

    I just hope the Justin Fields fantasy is finally over. In the final analysis, OSU didn’t accomplish anything with him that UGA didn’t with Fromm. They simply found another way to lose to Alabama.

    I also think Ryan Day was in over his head. The play calling was strange to me, and it seemed to regress and become more conservative in the second half.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    If I had to hear ONE MORE TIME about how Devonta Smith started his championship game career I was going to throw my cable box through my TV. I know, I know, I know you notice it more when it’s you but GO**AMMIT, EVERYBODY has a historic victory over Georgia.
    Whew, I’m glad I got that off my chest.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. theotherdoug

    We’ve talked a lot on here about the future of Manball, the need for a high powered offense, and what is the roll of defense in the future, and last nights game added another data point for how bend but don’t break gets your ass beat.

    OSU played a lot of soft coverage and kept things in front of them, and Bama had zero problems with that. It has to be hard for a DC to accept that he needs to take a lot of chances in order to stop a drive.

    Also, what is the future of LBs? OSU went with a 4-4 front, and that play you posted above was exactly why you need 5-6 DBs on the field at all times. That poor OSU LB was beat at the snap.

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    • originaluglydawg

      Najee Harris was playing manball.

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      • theotherdoug

        Harris was great and was relied on to get the tough yards when they were needed, but 22 carries for 79 yards isn’t manball.

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        • Got Cowdog

          Getting 10 yards after contact to score from the 25 on a screen pass that FUBAR’s the DE is.
          That’s a great call and ballsy too, Jones knows he’s likely to take a shot on that play…

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    • Tony BarnFart

      I don’t know if you search the basketball court for the guy with the quickest hands and feet, but did they ever put a hard press on Devonta at the line of scrimmage ? I would invest in a player whose only job is to beat the shit out of the other team’s best receiver at the line of scrimmage. Treat letting him off the line like a batter on a suicide squeeze.

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  9. Bama’s RPO scheming last night was masterful. The motion they created before snapping the ball completely befuddled the buckeye’s defense…even in the red zone where things typically get tight…Sark still spread out OSU. For me, last night was a textbook lesson in how an offense can impose their will on a defense.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. OSU tried something a little different, maybe bc of injuries, going with that 4-4, and what was amazing to me is Najee still ran all over them. Man what a pickle that puts you in.

    I also think that OSU was using LBs as total goons, with a plan of injuring and incapacitating. Get smith and Najee out, maybe they have a better chance.

    Sark was an artist, and had a few players that enjoyed being the brush and paint. 4th year players make a huge difference. Creatively building an offense for those players over “philosophy” is also great.

    OSU has a ton of talent. Bama looked like they practice 30 hrs a week (probably did, lol).

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    • practicaldawg

      And what a luxury it was to be able to run the ball in the red zone. OSU’s scheme was pretty obvious in the first half: limit big plays and hope to hold them to a FG or 2 in the red zone. Bama simply pounded it in with the short field.

      Key point: the run game is definitely not dead. I think OSU’s scheme was a great idea, but only against a team that had no run game.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Greg

    Surprised that they stuck with that 4-4 defense, keeping things in front of them….bend but don’t break, or intentions of not giving up the big play.

    I believe Georgia also had the same philosophy and it didn’t work……linebackers lining up further back than usual.

    Nonetheless, probably nothing would have worked with #6 in the lineup…but you’d expect some adjustment.

    Smith is probably the best college WR I have ever seen…and that includes Johnny Rogers.

    Saban needs to retire,

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  12. Russ

    Pretty ironic that the team that only played 7 games was the beat up team going in.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. originaluglydawg

    Smith is so great!. But so in Najee. In fact, I think he was the real key to the Alabama offense.
    Ohio State just couldn’t get him on the ground. That kid has amazing determination and heart.
    I turned it off when the clock struck zero, so I don’t know who got MVP, but if I were voting, my vote would be for Najee Harris, with apologies to the great receiver.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The Truth

    I think Mac Jones is going to be an effective NFL QB. He may end up being the steal of this QB draft class. DeVonta is certainly a brilliant receiver, but I might be a serviceable receiver if I knew most every pass was going to hit me perfectly in stride. I was tired of QBs and RBs winning all the Heismans and DeVonta had a kind of dynamism that made him a worthy winner, but Mac Jones was every bit as good if not better than many other QBs who have won the Heisman in recent years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • … I might be a serviceable receiver if I knew most every pass was going to hit me perfectly in stride.

      You must not have watched him play much this season. He had some insane catches, including one last night.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Truth

        Don’t know how I’d be able to classify him as a brilliant receiver, as I did above if I hadn’t watched him play. And “most every pass” hitting me perfectly in stride is not the same as “every pass” hitting me perfectly in stride. Also from my post above — “a kind of dynamism that made him a worthy [Heisman] winner.”

        Not certain about the source of the butt hurt in your reply to my post, but, uh, sorry.

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  15. TripleB

    My thoughts:
    1- Smith is the best receiver I ever saw (and seems like a stand up kid).
    2- Sark did great, but can he get all those players to Texas? When you have the best receivers, best RB, best offensive line, etc., good play calls an schemes always pay off.
    3- I hope Fields has a good NFL career and makes his family rich beyond belief, but I was not rooting for him (which was hard because he was playing Alabama) last night. I’ll never get over the way he left.
    4- I could see Jones, whose intellect might be his best tool in the NFL, make good with a team like New England.
    5- At some point, can’t Saban get a life (outside of football)! Doen’t he have a grandchild? We all want to get a chance!

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  16. Down Island Way

    Point # 5 has Mrs. Terry Saban to deal with on the home front…She ain’t got time for little nicky’s shit…..

    Liked by 1 person