Alabama Football: A New Era of Alabama Offense Has Begun

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa /

It wasn’t expected a freshman QB would lead Alabama football to its 17th national championship. But it happened. And now, a new era of Alabama offense that should scare SEC defenses next year and years to come.

The morning of the championship game, I’m sitting down with breakfast. I’m watching ESPNU, air Alabama football and Georgia, 2012 SEC Championship Game. Who could forget the Georgia Dome, the dumb play that caused Georgia to lose or Aaron Murray getting absolutely whopped all over again by Ha-Ha Clinton Dix? (I still maintain that the hit was legal).

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What I had forgotten was the Alabama football offensive system at that time. It was all about ground-and-pound. It relied on backfield talent instead of a spread. I saw players like Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon run right through the Georgia secondary for first down after first down. A.J. McCarron was behind center at the time and, while he got some looks on offense, it was all about that run game.

We fast forward to the 2017 season and Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s first year. He had to work with a QB in Jalen Hurts who was built to work in a Lane Kiffin, jet-sweep-forever offense. Jalen is talented, sure. But DaBall’s pro-style offense is quite a jump from where Jalen was with Kiffin. The Alabama football 2017 offense wasn’t inept, but it certainly wasn’t thriving either. It left people yearning for that ground-and-pound offense again.

The reason Daboll was brought in was realized in the second half of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship.

Welcome to the New Alabama Offense

After backup, true freshman Tua Tagovailoa came under center after halftime, the results were almost instantaneous. After getting beat up in the first drive, Tua got comfortable.

Suddenly, Alabama was throwing deep balls and opening up the playbook, something they didn’t do at all with Jalen. Or Tua would execute quick passes to get short to medium gains. Tua was letting go of the ball quickly in those scenarios and read the entire field like he was Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau. He made mincemeat of a Georgia defense that was bringing pain in the first half.

It’s certainly uncommon of a Nick Saban team to make drastic moves like a QB change, but it was necessary. Alabama wasn’t going to win with Hurts struggling and a limited playbook. The entire team, press box and even both locker rooms knew that.

But what you saw was just a beginning. Tua is clearly the right QB to fit Daboll’s offense. He’s got the talent, the un-measurables and the character to lead this team to more championships. No offense to Jalen is intended. He’s got a lot of character. But the message is clear. Tua just fits better.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first pro-style offense to be implemented in the SEC. But I’d argue it’s likely one with the best QB’s behind center. That should scare a lot of SEC teams. Just ask the defense coached by defensive guru Kirby Smart. They were shredded by it.

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The ground-and-pound offense at Alabama is officially dead. It’s a new era of Alabama offense and the world needs to be on watch. Supplemented by the already incredible defense, 2018 is looking bright for Alabama.