Saban did hint that he thought not playing Geno Smith more early in the season was a bad decision. They exploited some issues with our nickel defense which weren't exactly unknown going into the game. McCarron had a bad first half, they exploited our 3 safety nickel until Saban took it off the field. We steadied our defense enough to give us a chance with a true 3 corner nickel but too much damage was done to dig out of the hole.
We learned from the mistake, Geno stepped up down the stretch, and we got good enough in the secondary to not get completely decimated by the best passing offense in the SEC (UGA) in the conference title game. I think we should be better equipped to handle them next year.