Alabama Football: Ole Miss QB plays like Manziel? R-E-L-A-X!

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 9: Quarterback Shea Patterson
OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 9: Quarterback Shea Patterson /

Alabama football head coach Nick Saban said that Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson plays like Johnny Manziel. Is that really going to be a problem?

In his Wednesday press conference, Coach Saban “compared Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson to Johnny Manziel and said his scrambling ability [outside of the pocket] can disrupt the Tide’s ‘pattern-matching schemes’ on defense.” So far this season, Patterson has completed 86 of 122 pass attempts (70.5%) for 1 281 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Ole Miss has four receivers over 100 yards, but A.J. Brown has the most by far, earning 389 yards on 16 catches. He is Ole Miss’ long-bomb threat, averaging 24.3 yards a catch.

Now, before any Alabama football fan wets himself or herself at the second coming of Manziel, take advice from Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rogers: R-E-L-A-X! Relax!

Of course a quarterback like Manziel or Patterson would worry a coach who prefers the system’s way of shutting down an offense quickly. Ad-libbing is a planner’s worst nightmare. However, just because the quarterback wants to create things outside the box of a scheme, it does not mean the system will fall apart.

If that were true, the Brazilian soccer team would not have been destroyed by Germany in the last World Cup.

Hold your pitchforks for a second and keep an open mind. Yes, soccer is the perfect analogy for what Patterson can do against the Crimson Tide.

Brazil is known for having the most creative soccer players in the world. They are very skilled individually, and the national team is often encouraged to create plays on the field. That strategy won them five World Cups, the most of any country.

Then, there is Germany.

In this case, Alabama football represents the German national soccer team. Both are highly organized, using systems and schemes to defeat their opponents. Like Saban, all of Germany’s head coaches have preached that every player must fulfill his role in order for the team to succeed, collectively.

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However, the most important similarity between German soccer and Alabama football is the combination of individual talent and system schemes. Against Vanderbilt, Alabama’s defense looked impenetrable. Vanderbilt did not even cross the 50-yard line, as either the pass rush or the pass coverage smothered any chance for the offense to have success. The same could be said for Germany’s defense, who only allowed a goal to Brazil in the late stages of their infamous World Cup match in 2014.

Germany dominated the game, 7-1 in front of Brazil’s home crowd, just like Alabama did to Vanderbilt and their home crowd. As much as Vanderbilt’s fans might have felt embarrassed about the 59-0 scoreline, the country of Brazil was horrified because none of them expected Germany to stop their players’ creative mastery in such a fashion.

Alabama is poised to do the same to Patterson and the Ole Miss receivers on Saturday.

The Alabama defensive backs seemed to finally match scheme with talent last week. They were able to play man-to-man and zone coverage much better. They were able to stick to their defensive assignments like glue, as the pass rush forced Vanderbilt’s quarterback (both the starter and the backup) to have to ad-lib pass attempts that went for not. That coverage was not there against Fresno State or Colorado State earlier this season, but it sure was there last Saturday.

That’s not to say that the scrambling abilities of Vanderbilt comes close to Patterson’s ability, but it does show hope for Alabama football fans. They should have faith in the system, as Saban suggests; however, when talent starts to understand the system better, it makes the individual players that much better.

It becomes easy adjustments for each defensive back, when their receiver starts moving outside of the original offensive scheme. The DB can compensate and adjust his body to match the receiver’s movements when the defender understands where he is supposed to be and where his help is coming from.

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Alabama football fans should take a big breath and think about the German national team. Germany had their butts handed to them in the 1950s and ’60s by Brazil because their system could not adjust to Brazil’s creativity. When Germany produced players who were both individually talented and could play the system, the Germans were able to adjust that system when needed on an individual basis. The talent cancelled each other out, making Germany’s system dominate world soccer to this day.

Just like Alabama football dominates the college football world, today. Look for that to continue on Saturday.