Alabama Football: How the championship loss plays into the 2019 season


A loss is only truly devastating if you don’t learn from it. Going forward to the 2019 season it is imperative for the Alabama Football team to learn and build upon the lessons from the championship loss. No one is better at doing it than Nick Saban.

I believe there are on and off the field lessons the Alabama football team will use in the coming months to recover from the loss against Clemson. From coaching to players, I expect Nick Saban will make major offseason changes to ensure such a beating never happens again.

Clemson’s Coaching Stability

Clemson has one main characteristic that Alabama doesn’t have and that is coaching stability.

Yes, Nick Saban has been at the forefront for the past 12 years but over the course of the last four years, the Crimson Tide has been a rotating door for coaching changes, especially at the offensive and defensive coordinator position.

Contrast to Clemson who have had the same duo of co-offensive coordinators (Tony Elliott & Jeff Scott) since 2015 and defensive coordinator (Brent Venables) since 2012.

In fact, the longest-tenured position at Alabama besides Nick Saban is Strength & Conditioning Coach Scott Cochran who finished his 11th season. The next longest tenured coach at his position for consecutive years is Brent Key at three years and is moving to Georgia Tech.

I understand that it is hard to keep any coach when they are offered a head coaching position/coordinator position/higher paying position elsewhere. But Nick Saban needs to find guys who are committed to Alabama for more than a year or two. Finding guys who played at Alabama who would love to make their school better could provide more continuity.

The issue with the revolving door not only affects players’ ability to grow and mature under the same scheme, it also affects recruiting.

Clemson uses stability in its coaching staff to draw in recruits. Not saying Alabama struggles in the recruiting department, but if there is a way to get even better this is one way.

Alabama Football’s Uncharacteristic Defense

A lot of fans, commentators and journalists complain about a low scoring defensive game. However, Alabama will look to accomplish low scoring outputs by opponents next season.

For the defense, I believe coaching changes are needed. Tosh Lupoi’s defense was probably the most inconsistent I’ve seen under Saban and the stat sheet really covered up a lot of flaws.

Alabama did not face a truly talented and threatening offense until post the regular season. Georgia, Oklahoma, and Clemson all had their way with Alabama’s defense and it got progressively worse.

28 points to Georgia. 34 to Oklahoma and 44 to Clemson. Definitely not the championship defensive performances seen in Alabama’s past.

Changes will be made throughout the coaching staff in order to regain the form seen in prior seasons.

I also expect many changes throughout the defense.

The defensive line will most likely be completely new in the middle. But getting Terrell Lewis back on the outside is crucial. Alabama must regain the strength of getting to the quarterback.

At linebacker, Mack Wilson struggled multiple times in communication and coverage at the middle linebacker position. His play has to rise to the level of Reuben Foster, CJ Mosley, Donta Hightower, etc. If he can’t play up to that level than it is time to put Dylan Moses in charge who is a star and will continue to be a star.

In the secondary, likely losing Thompson will hurt. But regaining a healthy Trevon Diggs will be huge and Patrick Surtain II played outstanding for a true freshman and will continue to improve into one of the best.

The key will be developing a unit that can play against four wide receiver sets of big physical receivers like Clemson and Georgia. The opponents of the future will use four wide receiver sets against Alabama while keeping their most potent runner in the backfield. Alabama must be able to guard each receiver in one on one coverage. The corner position is the key position going into the offseason.

The game is continually changing and it is up to Alabama to conform and be the best at the change. This change must start on the defensive side of the football.

Alabama Kicking Woes

Ask any Alabama what was the weakest position on the field any year under Saban. They will answer the kicker.

This year I believe was worse than expected. In the past, Alabama really struggled in the field goal aspect. This year Alabama football fans closed their eyes for the extra point attempts.

Combining this with the loss of JK Scott cannot be understated.

JK Scott won football games for Alabama although that is not recognized anywhere. His ability to kick out of the end zone and pin the opponent deep in its own territory, essentially flipping the expected field position was huge.

Getting both the kicking and punting game not to just average, but to the Alabama level of excellence will remove the need to run poor fake field goals in the National Championship.

Killer Mentality

A team learns more about itself in a loss than it ever does in a win. That is why Alabama football has been tremendously successful in the past when suffering a loss during the regular season.

This season you did not get the sense the defense wanted to win the game on its own. You didn’t sense the defense wanting to make a statement that no one scored on them whether through the air or on the ground. Go back to the defense that beat LSU in the BCS Championship and watch its mentality. That is the defensive mentality needed going into 2019.

Finally, the past few seasons Alabama Football has struggled running the football. Since Derrick Henry left and we transitioned to a higher throwing percentage offense, we have lost the mentality that with three or less yards to go, we can run to get it. Remember the Derrick Henry, Eddie Lacy, Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram days where we had an offensive line that wanted to run to win?

We still have the running backs well capable of doing just that, but our line has suffered in dominating the line of scrimmage and being the force being the Alabama offense.

Alabama football must regain some of its older self, a defense no one wants to play, an offensive line that no one wants to go against, and a team that no one wants to play.

Next. A farewell letter to Jalen Hurts. dark

In the beginning, no one said “We want Bama”…..

Now everyone does…

It’s time to change the mentality.