Saban's Revenge: Game Thoughts from Tide's 49-42 Win

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I've seen them lose, and I've seen them win, but I've never seen them quit. Nothing was more true for the Texas A&M Aggies in Alabama's 49-42 win at Kyle Field. Let's talk about it.

Well guys, we could go a lot of different ways with this one.  Another big game letdown at Kyle Field?  One hell of a comeback by our boys when we were down?  Which way do you want to go?  I saw a LOT of bad on the field today, but I also saw some good.

THE BAD

-- We will get to all the offensive numbers in a second that will should cause everyone in the country to raise an eyebrow.  But, the offense did some bad things too.

  • Do we have running backs on our roster? According to the stat sheet, our running backs only touched the ball 19 total times on the day out of 71 total offensive snaps (maybe a little more since the official stat sheet isn't out yet).  That's just not going to cut it. I understand you want the ball in your Heisman Trophy winner's hands, but the running backs could have been utilized much better.
  • Throw in the under-utilization of Nehemiah Hicks and Cameron Clear. We used them more against Sam Houston State.
  • We had all offseason to prepare for this game and draw up some pretty creative stuff with the offensive playmakers all around.  I didn't see anything really special today. Pretty bland game plan, if you ask me. Expected a lot more out of Clarence McKinney and Jake Spavital.
  • Yeah, let's talk about trying to throw in your endzone from the 5 yard line. You want to throw a fade to Mike Evans? Okay. Anyone else?  Not acceptable. That play and interception is going to haunt the Aggie faithful for some time.  Huge difference in the game.
Now time for the defense......
  • The one thing that I don't understand at all is our refusal to substitute on defense.  We didn't do it last year, but that is because we really didn't have but 15 or 16 players who could see the field on defense.  This year, we've got some young guys we recruited who can make plays. We enticed them to come to A&M with playing time.  Where are they?  I didn't see Darion Claiborne out there.  When Shaan Washington came in, he was our best run defender and picked up a fumble recovery. Didn't see any of the freshmen defensive tackles, leaving Kirby Ennis and Alonzo Williams (who is playing out of position) to battle through all of Alabama's 66 snaps.  Daeshon Hall also played sparingly.
  • Our guys have got to play with some better fundamentals.  I think anyone that tries to go high against Alabama is crazy, and we were trying to tackle running backs up high all game.
  • Give props to A.J. McCarron; he is a hell of a quarterback.  But we made it easy for him all game long.  He didn't get pressured except for on a handful for drop-backs.  And his receivers were open all game long since we were giving them such lax coverage, especially on 3rd down. Maybe we have to play that way due to personnel, but it was just too easy for AJ.
THE GOOD

Just take a look at some of these offensive numbers.....
  • Texas A&M totaled 628 yards on the day, the most ever against a Nick Saban coached defense.  THE MOST EVER.
  • Johnny Manziel totaled 562 total yards on the day (98 rushing, 464 passing).  He almost broke his SEC record for most total yards in a game he set last year.  AGAINST NICK SABAN.
  • Mike Evans is a beast.  That is all you can say.  He is going to look back on this day next April and recognize it as the day he truly "cashed out"
  • Is this the best offense in college football?  Change the play call on the five and I think the answer is easily yes.  AND IT CAN BE SO MUCH BETTER IF WE GET THE RUNNING BACKS AND TIGHT ENDS INVOLVED.
Hey defense.....
  • I mean, the young guys can play.  When they play.  We just gotta convince the coaches to get our freshman on the field more.  They will make plays for us going into the future.
  • That's it.
LOOKING AHEAD
  • Some people will say it's the same ol' Aggie football.  High expectations, no or little results.  But I'm not sure you can be that disappointed/upset about the game. Yeah, we are awful on defense. But at the same time we were just a couple of plays away from beating Alabama once again.  We know you can't make mistakes against them.  You have to play perfect. We did last year in Tuscaloosa.  We didn't this year at home and it cost us the game.
  • WE WILL GIVE ALABAMA A BETTER GAME THAN ANYONE ELSE WILL THE ENTIRE SEASON, EXCEPT LSU.  Think about that and be proud of it.  Saban said it himself at the end of the game during his handshake with Coach Sumlin -- "you just took 10 years off my life".  That's high praise.
  • We still have to build this program up. It's amazing we are trying to play for an SEC Championship when this defensive roster needs a total rebuild.  Hope those recruits at Kyle today know that, because we need them in Aggieland. We've still got a long way to go before we have the players and the depth of an LSU or Alabama.
  • I'm curious where we end up tomorrow in the polls.  The long outlook is we can still play for a BCS bowl with a loss in week 3.  All we have to do is go 9-0 from here.  If we do that, we will keep climbing in the polls until the end.  Who knows? Maybe we are lucky enough to have a rematch with Alabama once again in January.  Don't tell me the country won't want that after Rounds 1 and 2.
  • We have SMU, at Arkansas, a bye, then a big trip to Oxford.  After the Ole Miss game there's a lot of time to prepare for LSU.  This coaching staff gets to go back under the hood and get this team better. And the spotlight will be off of us which might be beneficial for a while.  We've just got to get these coaches convinced to play the freshman and get them ready to go to battle because they are the best we've got.
That's it.  Hang your heads high, Ags.  We played well and showed we deserved to be here.

Anything I missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
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