Last winter, I expressed some exasperation over the game plans for Alabama’s final two games of the 2013 season. I just couldn’t believe that an Alabama team known for smashmouth football would attempt to outscore two programs using a basketball-on-grass strategy when both of those two opponents were designed to play basketball on grass.
Then came the puzzling and controversial hire of Lane Kiffen to replace Coach Nuss at the offensive coordinator slot. Kiffin, known for pro-style and West Coast type offenses is a heckuva coach and a good playcaller. He’s also a proficient recruiter and a salesman who could sell to other salesmen.
Which is why the recruitment and ultimate commitments of Jacob Coker and Blake Barnett are so curious. As CapstoneReport’s ITK points out, this signals that the Tide’s traditional offense is in for more than just a tweak or two here and there:
Think you have Alabama’s offense figured out? Think again.
Yesterday Alabama received a commitment from one of the top three dual threat quarterbacks in the country, Blake Barnett of Corona Santiago, California. Barnett, like the incoming transfer Jacob Coker, presents a different skill-set from other quarterbacks in Nick Saban’s arsenal while at Alabama.
While it’s doubtful Alabama’s new offense will stoop to bush-league tactics like the HUNH, football’s version of the cheap shot punch (then run away as fast as you can), it appears Bama is intent on standing in front of you, punching you in the mouth, then kicking you with very, very quick feet.
The emphasized statement is important. Like ITK (and probably most Bama fans), I pray that we don’t go to the trick offenses run by Auburn, Oklahoma and Oregon. We’re not geared for that, and it would take a disastrous few years to get geared for it. Just ask Rich Rodriguez how things work out when you take a team geared for downhill running and try to put in a spread-type offense.
It’s just not Alabama football. It’s not what the team is currently designed to do, and it’s not something most Bama fans would recognize as “our brand.”
More speed on the offense is never a bad thing. Nor is it a bad thing to have a QB who can turn a busted play into a first down or a TD. It is a bad thing to fundamentally rewrite the playbook and completely change strategies when you’ve been recruiting for years with the goal in mind of playing the game a certain way.
In the game of football, and especially in the SEC, the winners are usually the teams that control the ball, dominate the clock and own the line of scrimmage. Play trickster football against smashmouth football and nine times out of ten, the team with the smashmouth strategy wins.
You wanna get some additional speed to augment the physicality of your traditional brand of football, fine. But if you don’t dance with the one who brung ya, ya ain’t gonne get much time on the big dance floor.