Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Saban, Alabama aren't going away
By Chris Low
Now that I’m back from the Big Easy and had my last cup of gumbo for a while, I wanted to reflect one last time on Alabama’s 21-0 victory over LSU in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.
For starters, Alabama was the better team, the better-prepared team and played to win from the opening kickoff.
What do you say to the LSU defense? Those guys did everything they could to keep the Tigers in the game, but LSU’s offensive game plan was abysmal.
Alabama coach Nick Saban and QB AJ McCarron celebrated winning a national title last season despite not claiming the SEC crown.
Alabama was ready. The Crimson Tide used their 40-plus days to prepare. They executed a fake field goal. They came out throwing on first down and wisely got sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron into an early rhythm.
Listen, McCarron can play. He’s confident and has a big arm. The Crimson Tide simply didn’t ask him to win a lot of games throwing the football this season.
As soon as you say that, though, you remember that Alabama was the only team in the SEC to average more than 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards per game this season.
Outgoing offensive coordinator Jim McElwain went out in style. He’s leaving to take the Colorado State head coaching job, and his players were singing his praises late Monday night.
At a place like Alabama, where defense is king, the offense sometimes becomes the stepchild. But McElwain worked diligently to bring balance to Alabama’s offense and wasn’t afraid to jump out there and let McCarron throw it in the biggest game of the year.
On the other hand, what did LSU do during all of its extra preparation time to help its offense?
You knew the Crimson Tide would have an answer for the option, but the Tigers kept pounding away to see if they could get something outside.
It’s inexplicable that LSU coach Les Miles didn’t at least give Jarrett Lee a chance to see if he could get something going in the passing game.
Take a few deep shots. Go with the three-step passing game. Try something.
Even Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was stunned afterward that LSU didn’t try and go up top.
I thought this season was absolutely one of Miles’ shining moments, the way he navigated his team to a 13-0 record despite the deck being stacked against the Tigers much of the way.
Monday night was certainly not one of his shining moments, while it was truly a masterpiece by the entire Alabama staff.
Nick Saban has three national championships now and counting. Anybody taking bets that he gets to five before his work in Tuscaloosa is finished?
He’s a great coach, no doubt, and a great defensive mind. But don’t underestimate the importance of his hiring good coaches and letting those coaches coach.
Saban’s one of those guys who believes that you’ve never arrived. In fact, he was already thinking about this offseason and spring ball as soon as he finished his press conference Tuesday morning.
He won’t say it, so I’ll say it for him: Alabama football has most definitely arrived. Consider it a re-arrival of sorts, and the Tide are now prominently perched in college football’s throne.