JessN: Auburn wrap-up: A loss of systemic proportions

JessN

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Auburn wrap-up: A loss of systemic proportions
by Jess Nicholas
TideFans Editor-In-Chief
November 30th, 2019 08:41 PM

At some point, statistical anomalies are no longer that. They become trends. The one freshest on the mind of Alabama fans (besides maybe the trend of need-to-make field goals bouncing off uprights) is how Nick Saban is now 0-4 against Auburn when Auburn is good. In the medical world, there are diseases, and those […]

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JessN

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Also ...

Where I think the program is right now ... I'm going to try to microwave what I just wrote for the column. I'll start with the three blood-boilers so you can go ahead and get your cheap shots out of the way early, and then we can discuss it like adults:

* This is two years now with an undisciplined football team. One year is bad enough. Two is inexcusable and goes directly back to the head coach. What I don't know is how he fixes it. Is it generational all of a sudden? There's obviously a lack of fear for what happens in the event of a mistake made.

* I've never seen a bigger canard than the whole "we just need to fire (3-4-5-6) assistants and then it will all be better." Who hired them? What are they being asked to teach? If they're teaching what they're being told to taught, is that their fault? This leads into ...

* Defensively, I think the system itself is past its sell-by date. This has a lot of interaction with the point above about assistant coaches, because if they're teaching what you want taught yet what you want taught isn't compatible with where offensive football is now or where it's going, then you're about to shoot soldiers for following orders, so aim carefully.

---

Now, if you're solutions-based, you probably want to focus on next steps and not just the gripefest of the present. I think the first point makes me maddest. Fans love to hoot about how Saban likes to growl and bark and how he treats media or those unsuspecting folk who stand up at a Touchdown Club meeting and ask a dumb question, but either we've got guys playing who laugh him off as Grumpy Grandpa or they're not capable of actually doing the right thing physically/mentally, which then calls into question the recruiting process ... something that has been (and should be) just about as far above reproach as any part of Saban's tenure here could be.

The second point is consequential to the third, and the third point is where it gets reeeeeeallly uncomfortable around here to discuss. At best, this is Bryant in 1970 post-Scott Hunter, putting in the wishbone. At worst, you have a defensive coach whose own defensive baby may be part of the problem. And yes, I know all about the two true freshmen we have running around at ILB. The problem here is middle-top of this defense has been its weak point since 2007, everyone knows it, and now this year we've thrown in DL that get inconsistent pushes and CBs that aren't making plays.

If anyone wants to respond with "all is well," save it for another thread, because all isn't well. What I am hopeful for is that this triggers a top-down reevaluation of program management. If it doesn't, then it probably is the beginning of the end of the ride, just as it would have been for Bryant without the 'bone.
 

CrimsonNagus

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I’m not an Xs and Os guy, I don’t understand all the technical details of football. So, if a 3-4, over/under scheme is no longer adequate for defending modern offenses, what scheme is and why? If we are doomed to look like the Big12 then maybe I’m not a football fan anymore because I hate that style of football.

As much as I hate Auburn, Kevin Steele looks like one of the best DC in the country right now. Is something like his scheme a possible answer?
 
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tidehawk

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Stinging analysis, but the truth. Will Saban be able to look in the mirror and accept his defensive philosophy has to be revamped?
 

BamaDMD

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Jess, I can't disagree with most of your points/questions. However, How much weight do we give that this defense is hanging by patchwork and duct tape. Are we this unlucky in the injuries or is there an underlying problem with our conditioning program (God forbid I say that but I'm really grasping here). I think that alot of this won't be answered until we can get some continuity for several games into next year and see just how much the injury bug bit us this year. Hopefully, we also learn some discipline along the way and some coaches take a giant step forward.
 

rgw

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I’m not an Xs and Os guy, I don’t understand all the technical details of football. So, if a 3-4, over/under scheme is no longer adequate for defending modern offenses, what scheme is and why? If we are doomed to look like the Big12 then maybe I’m not a football fan anymore because I hate that style of football.

As much as I hate Auburn, Kevin Steele looks like one of the best DC in the country right now. Is something like his scheme a possible answer?
Kevin Steele just got torched by a team with their backup [entering the season] QB starting his third game of the season. His scheme ain't an answer either.
 
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BamaMoon

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I’m not an Xs and Os guy, I don’t understand all the technical details of football. So, if a 3-4, over/under scheme is no longer adequate for defending modern offenses, what scheme is and why? If we are doomed to look like the Big12 then maybe I’m not a football fan anymore because I hate that style of football.

As much as I hate Auburn, Kevin Steele looks like one of the best DC in the country right now. Is something like his scheme a possible answer?
I'm not either, but it has to be thoroughly understood before it can be played with success is my understanding. Explains why we have freshman running around like they don't understand what's going on.

It's kinda like playing golf with technical thoughts. Can't do it until you play without thinking about technique/positions etc.
 

MajorFan42

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Tom Landry invented the 4-3 flex defense for Jim Brown. Dan Marino's Dolphins and other passing offenses came along and the flex was toast. Landry couldn't bring himself to change what he really believed in. Change is hard but it us necessary. Saban has shown in the past he is willing to change. Now his defense must be changed, maybe radically, I hope he can except it.
 

PA Tide Fan

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You sound spot on. We've modernized our offense but probably haven't on defense. I don't know what the answer is but Saban needs to find it or we're probably done with NC's for a while.
 

bamamc1

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I’m not an Xs and Os guy, I don’t understand all the technical details of football. So, if a 3-4, over/under scheme is no longer adequate for defending modern offenses, what scheme is and why? If we are doomed to look like the Big12 then maybe I’m not a football fan anymore because I hate that style of football.

As much as I hate Auburn, Kevin Steele looks like one of the best DC in the country right now. Is something like his scheme a possible answer?
His D got lit up tonight. You tell me.
 

CB4

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Point one of the solutions based notion: I’m of the opinion some of this falls into realm of who we are recruiting on that side of the ball. Either we aren’t recruiting the guys with the skills or brains needed to execute Saban’s defensive scheme or/and the scheme is antiquated.

It is one thing to make mistakes. It is another thing to make the same ones over and over.

I can’t agree more with everything you say here Jess.
 

Cruloc

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I'm not just upset, I'm embarrassed. It's the lack of discipline that I just dont understand. In the 12th game of the year you set a penalty record for a Saban coached team.

That and...against teams of equal talent, we are just not good anymore defensively. Seem fine against inferior opponents but get torched against equal. Listening to Sabans PC though, sounded like it was just guys not doing their assignments....which leads me to believe Saban sticks to his guns and just believes its missed assignments...instead of a scheme change...that's necessary. So maybe the ride is over.
 

BamaMoon

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More accurately, will pride/stubbornness stand in the way of change/success?
CNS defense was always a "stop the run first" defense in its early years. Now, it's becoming "can't stop the pass" defense.

It seems to be we are going to need more LB's who are like safeties and have covering ability, but who can still come up and stop the run.

But as you ask, "Is CNS willing to make those kind of changes?"
 

NationalTitles17

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Good points across the board, Jess.

Lack of leadership and discipline, misses in recruiting (including character/mental fortitude), coaching, and schemes - these are all problems. The defense simply has to get faster. There's no way around it. The scheme has to change. It's time to adapt or get left behind.
 
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