Again the Aggies were no match for Alabama Football. There are reasons for the eight-win streak.
Alabama football won over the Aggies again. The Crimson Tide win streak in the series is now eight. Nick Saban pushed his personal record against his former assistants to 20-0.
The Crimson Tide blew past the Aggies for a 52-24 win. Even though the game was tied at 14-14, Jimbo Fisher’s team was never a threat to upset the Tide. Angst will grow in College Station. The Aggie football program has every championship component money can buy. That is not a slam. Aggie boosters have deep pockets. The same for Crimson Tide boosters. The disparity between the programs is not about the money each program invests in itself.
In College Station, expectations ran high in the offseason. Jimbo Fisher must now deal with his team’s frustration and what is a growing, nagging dissatisfaction from boosters. Jimbo is a ‘National Championship’ head coach. Finding him wanting would be harsh, maybe unfair. In 2000-2009, Fisher was Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback coach for two coaching legends, Nick Saban and Bobby Bowden. In the period before spectacular offense became common, Jimbo’s were good, very good. Nine of his former QBs were drafted by the NFL, three of them as first-rounders.
As recently as the 2019 season, the reputation Jimbo earned as a ‘Quarterback Guru’ was a bit stale but intact. It is not that Jimbo Fisher has changed, but that college football has. Nick Saban’s success has been aided by him changing as the game has changed. That gives the Crimson Tide a big coaching advantage over the Aggies.
Alabama football fans were not always wowed by Brian Daboll and Mike Locksley’s play-calling. Their schemes, in comparison to those of Lane Kiffin, were less flashy. Kiffin’s explosive Crimson Tide offenses had the ‘wow’ factor fans love and Nick Saban has learned to love.
Many factors led to the Crimson Tide blowout of the Aggies. By far, the greatest one is the partnership between Saban and Steve Sarkisian. Mike Elko is a respected defensive coach, but Sark took what Elko gave him and skillfully, surgically maximized it.
The Aggie front six is good, the front four are very good. Sark’s schemes allowed Mac Jones to negate those strengths and pick an overwhelmed Aggie secondary apart. Mac’s 435 passing yards put him at No. 4 in the Crimson Tide Record Book for single-game passing yards. Jones did it throwing only 27 passes. The three guys ahead of Jones in the Crimson Tide record book Scott Hunter (484 yards), Blake Sims (445 yards) and Tua Tagvailoa (444 yards) threw more passes. Sims and Tua threw 33 and 36 passes, respectively. Scott Hunter tossed 55 passes against Auburn back in 1969.
Mac deserves acknowledgment for his accuracy, but the more impressive achievement in the game was Sarkisian’s play-calling. Nick Saban wants offensive balance and explosive plays. Sark’s calls resulted in 28 runs and 27 passes. Scoring 52 points in 55 plays is tremendous execution. The Alabama Crimson Tide offense gained an average of almost 10 yards (9.9) on every offensive play.
Despite the two interceptions, Nick Saban will not be pleased with his defense. Too many Aggies were left uncovered. Nick might have been referring mostly to his defenders when he said earlier, some of them need to learn how to learn. The Aggies gained 450 yards on the Crimson Tide, too many by Saban’s standard. One reason was the Tide’s offense was so explosive the Aggies had the ball for nearly 38 minutes.
In the post-game, Saban spoke about his defense,
"there were mental errors on defense with alignments and not adjusting to motion correctly.they will have “a lot of things to clean up.”"
The Alabama football defense will improve during the season. The Tide offense is already clicking. Steve Sarkisian is the reason.