Alabama Football, Crimson Tailored Custom Tide
Alabama 55, Auburn 44, was the final score in the 2014 Iron Bowl and the highest scoring game in Iron Bowl history. And even though Auburn had more total yards, longer time of possession and won the turnover battle, Alabama won the game and kept all their goals intact. Why? Because they scored a 34 to Auburn’s 3 points run during the 3rd and 4th quarters. The better question may be, ‘How?’ Did they do it with an up the gut running game? No, although there was plenty of that. Did they do it with suffocating defense? Not really, but that happened too at times.
They did it with senior quarterback, Blake Sims winging the ball downfield to Amari Cooper, who tied his own record, 224 yards in a single game. Sims arm included 39 and 75 yards touchdown throws in the third quarter. If the Crimson Tide wasn’t wearing their traditional uniforms, would Alabama football fans recognize their team?
Why did this game look so different?
This Alabama football team is Crimson Tailored and Custom Tide by Nick Saban, the top shelf designer who is not afraid to create something new is changing college football, again. It’s a Crimson Current, red-hot team and he changed it right before your eyes. Did anybody see this coming?
It’s said that success follows adversity. What could be more adverse than losing a chance to make history by winning three national championships in consecutive years?
Tipping Point – November 30, 2013
When Auburn’s Chris Davis’ grabbed the missed 57-yard field goal attempt for the final play of Iron Bowl 2013 and Jordan-Hare Stadium erupted in jubilation to hysterical proportions and Alabama fans had their chins planted firmly in the dirt, Alabama football Coach Nick Saban was hitting the reset button and planning the next phase of his coaching career.
His mind wasn’t on a missed field goal by a freshman kicker, or the mind-numbing fever-pitch celebration of Auburn fans, which had every right to celebrate for taking down No. 1 Alabama. There’s a right way and a wrong way to deal with failure. Trying to erase it, denying it exists, or pretending it doesn’t really matter only leads to future failures. The right thing to do is to try to make it right. Coach Saban’s success comes through rapidly fixing his mistakes.
What was Saban’s mistake?
Coach Saban contemplated a change in offense for two years. When Alabama Offensive Coordinator, Jim McElwain left for his first head-coaching job at Colorado State, Saban hired Doug Nussmeir, January, 2012. Nussmeir made no secret he was planning on riding McElwain’s coattails, changing nothing, plopping himself into the seat and driving this Ferrari straight into Title Town. In a press conference prior to his first season Nussmeir said that Coach Saban’s teams could run the ball well and not turn it over, “Those are obviously two key elements to winning football games. And we won’t do anything new at all. It will be the same, exact plays that we ran last year, we’ll just change the order that we ran them in.” And his plan worked, until it didn’t.
While Offensive Coordinator, Alabama won a national championship in 2012 and Nussmeir was a Broyles candidate for national assistant coach of the year. And then this happened. His perfectionist boss witnesses his offense come away with nothing after three, fourth-quarter possessions inside the red zone in the 2013 Iron Bowl leaving him on the wrong side of a 34–28 final score.
What was Saban thinking that night?
Immediately Coach Saban must have asked himself something like this, how do I re-cast this offense into something more likely to succeed? His mind travels to California, to an offensive minded head coach that just lost his dream job at USC Trojans.
He calls Lane Kiffin for a chat.
Initially it was just a rare opportunity to spend some time with an Offensive Coach whom he admired. It resulted in a new home for Coach K and the firing of Doug Nussmeir, an Offensive Coordinator who had racked up more yardage and every other fun offensive stat than any assistant in Saban’s era at Alabama. Alabama has a standard of excellence that is hard to comprehend. Saban gets it.
“Saban’s” 10-Second Rule
Fortuitously, Coach Saban was invited by the NCAA to participate in a meeting exploring the pros and cons of the NCAA’s proposed new rule banning offenses from snapping the ball within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock. The NCAA called their proposal the 10-Second Rule, but Alabama football and Nick Saban detractors came to call it, “The Saban Rule.” In an interview before speaking to the Minority Coaches Association of Georgia in February 2014, when asked about the proposal, “I think the bottom line is, was football intended to be a continuous game?” Saban replied and continued, “Look, I’m all for what’s best for the game. The officials control the pace of the game.” Not the coaches.
Within the next month, the NCAA decided to drop the rule and while Saban’s critics celebrated that he didn’t “win” this one, it appears that he did. He got the answers he needed from working with the NCAA on the “hurry-up” issue. Comfortable with his understanding of the future of college football offense, Saban was poised to make some changes.
“It’s a pro philosophy, and Lane’s got experience as a pro coach. That’s his background, that’s what he does,” Saban said.
Throughout the 2014 season, Coach Saban hinted that he was going to up the tempo, pass down the field more and revamp his offense. In a late September press conference, Saban said,
“There’s some tremendous advantages to it. The only reason we haven’t done it to this point is we’ve played pretty well without doing it and our players have played better without doing it.”
“I think the time is coming where we’ll probably do it, too.”
So what did the 2014 regular season look like? Alabama has a hurry-or- no-hurry-no-huddle approach. The new Offensive Coordinator, Lane Kiffin, is down on the sideline, a first for Saban, coaching his quarterback and offense and getting coached by his mentor. The team is running 72 plays per game on average compared to 66 last year.
But don’t expect Hurry-up. Up-tempo. Two-minute offense, all the time from Alabama. Think of it as a new gizmo brought out when needed. Like when Alabama is down 26 – 21 in the Iron Bowl. Coach Saban’s philosophy has not changed; he intends to change the game every time he sees it needs changing.
Alabama Football Players
The last second ran off the game clock, the scoreboard read, Alabama 55, Auburn 44, IronBowl 2014 was now final and both teams were disappointed. What? That’s right, starting sophomore cornerback Eddie Jackson apologized to the fans for a “horrible game,” stating he will “Bounce Back Believe That.”
In the post-game interview, Safety Landon Collins said the Tigers didn’t do anything different from the film they studied.
“I mean, it’s very frustrating,” Collins said. “But you tell your teammates, whoever got beat on the play, just turn the page and go on to the next play.”
Now, who does that sound like to you?
Iron Bowl 2014 – Good results with just enough flaws to coach for the playoff.
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