Opinion: It’s Not Okay, Bama Nation


Sorry, Alabama football fans, but it’s not okay.

I’m normally the perennial Bama optimist. Yes, we’re 4-1 and ranked No. 7.

But it’s not okay. It’s just not.

We are 4-3 in our last seven games. Our defense looks as confused as I’ve seen them in years, and I don’t recall Alabama players missing this many tackles since the Dubose or Shula era.

Our offense has shown flashes of brilliance but explosions of idiocy. Dumb penalties. Dropped passes. And that’s just O.J. Howard.

Auburn looks like a vastly superior team. The state of Mississippi is no longer a football punchline. Even when refs try to give us a game, we choose not to take it. It feels like that’s we’re at the start of a slow descent to mediocrity.

I want to tell you it’s going to be okay. I want to tell you In Saban We Trust. I want to tick off our top-rated draft classes to make you feel all better. But it’s not okay. And if it doesn’t start to change quickly, we are going to be looking in the rear view mirror at a fading dynasty, littered with a heaping helping of what-ifs and what couldabeens.


Good. Me too. So here are a few things that can possibly walk you back from the ledge. It’s not okay. But it can be, and here is the roadmap.

  • A leader emerges. Blake Sims has shown some signs, but what if he can do just so much with a team not ready to be carried? I thought Landon Collins would be that person on defense, but it’s hasn’t happened. Leaders are not appointed. Somewhere in that locker room is the one player who is so sickened by seeing the football world catch up – and maybe pass Alabama by – that it’s time for passion to step up and lead a resurgence. And it wouldn’t bother me to see Kenyan Drake on the sidelines reminding them to fight for him. (It also wouldn’t bother me to never, ever, ever see his injury again.)
  • The SEC West remains brutal. We need the rest of the league to beat each other up. Ole Miss needs two SEC losses, and it’s not beyond the pale for Alabama to add another loss. But we need the scarring to be widespread. It starts Saturday in Starkville when Auburn and Miss. St. clash.
  • Lane Kiffin doesn’t have to be a genius. He can be, as he has shown. But there are two guys named Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon on the team. Put the offense on their backs. A Gene Stallings-style offense can be both exceptionally boring and exceptional.
  • Adam Griffith decides who he is. And that is a talented kicker with a cannon of a leg.
  • Discipline returns. Kirby Smart needs to show that he is worthy of his last name. No more of those chaotic defensive alignments and woefully out of position miscues. And the next time Christion Jones puts the ball on the turf, it should be because he’s setting it down in the endzone after a touchdown. If he doesn’t begin protecting that ball like it’s a newborn baby, it’s time for all of his amazing talents to sit on the sidelines.
  • The pain lingers.

    I hope the Ole Miss loss hurt the players. I hope it wounded their pride. I hope it made them question just who they are. Because if none of that happened, they don’t have the drive and passion to don the Crimson and White. Remember Bear Bryant’s locker room speech to freshman? These kids are 85-point talents playing with 75 hearts. Other teams may not have the talent, but they are showing the heart.

  • And, lastly, In Saban We Trust. Yes, I said earlier it’s not a reason to make it all okay. But it’s the beginning. If there is one thing we have to have faith in right now, it’s that Saban will be the starting point to make all these other things happen. Much like Bear, I expect nothing less.