Roll Tide! Defense Wins Championships

Alabama 37 – Texas 21!  What an ending to a great season.  Heisman Trophy and BCS Title in the same year and a 14-0 record.   I wish there was some kind of defensive award that could be given to the team, but I guess that crystal football will have to do.  Same for coaching.  Nick Saban totally outcoached Mack Brown in this one.

What really saddens me though is the critical reviews  the game received today from sportswriters.   I guess they forgot about the thumping Alabama  put on Tim Tebow and the Number 1 Florida Gators.  Is McCoy/Texas any better than Tebow/Florida?  I see no reason to take anything away from the Crimson Tide just because Colt McCoy got hurt.   We beat Florida with Tebow and we would have beaten Texas with McCoy.    Yeah, it’s unfortunate he got hurt, but that’s the game.  Actually, I think we let up on Texas after McCoy went down and that’s why the game was even close.  Had McCoy stayed, Alabama’s focus would have been sharper and their play much better for the duration of the game.  

Unfortunately, Alabama conservatively coasted to the finish and the nation didn’t get to see the best of the Crimson Tide.  Instead they saw a complacent team playing out the second half with a big lead.   Sportswriter’s reviews criticizing and playing ‘what-if’ is merely a pointless exercise to have something controversial to write about and sell papers.

If they really want to play the ‘what-if’ game, I didn’t see Texas crying when Sam Bradford got knocked out in the first quarter of the Texas-Oklahoma game, which Texas barely won 16-13.  If Bradford plays, maybe Texas doesn’t even make it to the BCS Title game.  Consider it karma, Texas, it all evens out.  If I was a Texas fan, I’d be more angry with the coaching than I would be with losing my QB.

I’m guessing that Mack Brown won’t be calling any quarterback option plays into the teeth of the nation’s best defense for awhile.  This isn’t Kansas State or Baylor there Mack, it’s Alabama, loaded with 300+ pound defensive linemen that have been pounding other SEC teams all year.  Terrible decision to put McCoy in that position to get hurt.  You didn’t see Alabama running Greg McElroy into the middle of the Texas defense did you?  If you gamble with running your franchise QB into 300 pound linemen, then you have to accept the consequences.  Don’t leave your king unprotected.

Or how about that shovel pass call deep in your own end with 15 seconds to go in the half and an inexperienced, scared to death, freshman QB in the game?  That has to be the worst coaching ever.  Nothing good is going to happen in that situation, so why gamble?  Did Brown really think he was going to bust off a 70 yarder up the middle on this defense in the last 15 seconds of the half?  Come on.   The only thing that was going to happen in that situation was going to be something bad for Texas.  He gambled foolishly and lost.  Just take a knee, go to the locker room down 11 and regroup.  At least give your team a shot in the second half.  Instead, you go to the locker room totally demoralized and down 18 with your starting QB out of the game.  Horrible coaching.

And how about the Texas play calling?  Same vanilla play after vanilla play all game long.  Talk about making it easy for our defense.  Why not throw in some trick plays, some misdirection to slow the Tide defense down?  Maybe a reverse here, a halfback pass there, maybe a fake punt or flea flicker.  Anything to slow the defense.  Instead they just kept running the same running play and 5 step drop back pass.  There’s a reason that Anders caused the fumble at the end of the game – he had nothing else to worry about other than just going after the QB.  Texas gave him nothing else to worry about or any other responsibility. 

As for the criticism of Saban’s decision to try the fake punt at the beginning of the game, it’s totally unwarranted.  Saban is aggressive.  He won the toss and took the ball to start the game.  He wanted to jump on them from the opening whistle.  Now, the whole point to a fake is the element of surprise.  Was there any other time when he could have better maximized the surprise element of a fake?  Probably not.  Raise your hand if you even considered a fake in that situation.  Yeah, that’s what I thought.   The Bama coaches saw a weakness on the game films and they attacked (the coverage was terrible in this situation and the receiver was 5 yards behind the defender, but the pass was terribly underthrown).   If anything, the Texas defender should have been better coached to simply knock the ball down rather than picking it off.  What really happened was a 25 yard interception, which is the exact same result as a 40 yard punt with a 15 yard return.  That wasn’t a horrible game changing result for Bama. 

I’m not sure why sportswriter’s hate  Alabama and the SEC.  Maybe they just despise the SEC winning the last four, and five of the last seven, national titles.  Or maybe it’s just to have enough content to meet their quota.  Who knows.   All I really care about is that crystal football trophy sitting proudly in the Paul W. “Bear” Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa.

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