Opinion: Alabama Fans Seek Answers For Crimson Tide’s Struggles


The late Alabama coach and director of athletics Mal Moore used to tell a story about his boss, Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant, urging him to call a play Moore knew would fail, given the situation.

Moore put him off as long as he could before being forced by Bryant to call the play – a reverse – that was stuffed by the defense for a big loss, as Moore had predicted. Bryant was quick to place the blame on, you guessed it, the offensive coordinator.

“I meant the other way!” Moore recalls Bryant saying after the play.

“A coach is just like a player,” Moore said after one retelling of the story. “Hell, after the play’s over we all know.”

Alabama’s current offensive coordinator found himself in an similar situation in Saturday’s ugly 14-13 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks. Faced with a fourth-and-one, Kiffin wanted a handoff, but was overruled by his boss, Nick Saban.

Instead, Alabama was stuffed on the called play, a quarterback sneak that saw Blake Sims inexplicably attempt to dive over the top.

“Well that was the ugliest looking quarterback sneak I ever saw,” Nick Saban said. “I mean we run the quarterback sneak and we teach a guy how to run a quarterback sneak and we never ever taught that. Lane (Kiffin) wanted to run a different play and I didn’t really want to hand the ball off. I thought we could make two inches on a quarterback sneak. But I was wrong and it was my fault on that one.”

The fact is, nobody outside of the Crimson Tide locker room has the definitive answer for Alabama’s woes.

Meanwhile, a former Alabama quarterback had his own opinion on the Tide’s struggles. AJ McCarron caused a brief tempest with his comments on a perceived lack of leadership, to which

Saban took exception

. McCarron also wondered aloud whether the offensive coordinator had figurative handcuffs placed on him by the head coach.

As with head coaches, former players have all the answers after the clock strikes zero on the stadium scoreboard.

Social media is crackling this morning with theories and assertions of what is wrong with Alabama. Some are using the opportunity to renew their despicable rationale for not starting Blake Sims. Others are calling for the firing of everyone from the assistant coaches to the guy selling the barbeque nachos. ‘Run The Damn Ball’ Guy is arguing with ‘Pass The Damn Ball’ Guy. And the penalties, my word the penalties.

The fact is, nobody outside of the Crimson Tide locker room has the definitive answer for Alabama’s woes.

Alabama’s struggles are likely a little of this, a little of that. Inexperienced rookies and apathetic upperclassmen. Coaches hired more for their recruiting skill than their gameday talents. Injuries and lack of depth at key positions. A head coach that wants other teams to play to his style of football, instead of adapting his gameplan to overcome what his opponents do.

Fans, critics and former players agree this is a very flawed team. Yet while our theories may be varied, our perspective is the same: we’re on the outside looking in.

Whether it is this season or not, Alabama will be an elite team again, you can be sure. Once that happens, fans can sit in the stands or on their sofas and take credit for the victories like always.

But until Alabama’s only true insider – Nick Saban – gets things figured out, Bama Nation is in the same position as coach Bryant was before Mal Moore finally called the reverse:

We have no idea what’s going to happen next.