Alabama Football: Sarkisian still has a trick up his sleeve

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Alabama football hasn’t used all of their trick plays

The offensive talent on Alabama football’s roster is staggering. Pairing them with the creativity of Steve Sarkisian is unfair. However, I have bad news for the Tide’s remaining opponents. Sarkisian still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

The creativity in Alabama’s playcalling has been subtle. Sarkisian will call tunnel screens and disguise them with a swing route to the running back. We have seen some trickery to cause offsides penalties. The closest thing to a true trick play was when Miller Forristall took the direct snap on a fourth down in the SEC Championship.

This is all great, but there is still plenty to expect. The beauty of Alabama football is that they haven’t needed to use these plays. That means that defenses are not sure how to prepare for them. If needed, the offense can call a play that will truly be a surprise.

When you are as clever as Steve Sarkisian, your bag of tricks runs deep. There is a reason why Alabama should give Sark a blank check for Christmas. We haven’t even seen Slade Bolden as a wildcat quarterback this year. He could be involved, or they could use Forristall again. You could also see someone like John Metchie or Brian Robinson get involved.

Mac Jones isn’t the most athletic quarterback, so don’t expect anything that turns him into a receiver. However, the Tide could still use another player as a quarterback. Both Slade Bolden and Miller Forristall were quarterbacks in high school. They are both capable of throwing for a touchdown pass on a trick play.

Alabama football has a history with trick plays in the postseason. They went for an onside kick against Clemson in 2015. In 2017, the Tide threw a touchdown pass to Da’Ron Payne while faking the run.

Expect Alabama to at least change their tendencies against Notre Dame. We saw this against Clemson when OJ Howard had a surprising game. He had been disregarded all season, but Lane Kiffin used him in new ways against the Tigers. We could Sarkisian do something similar for any of Alabama’s skill players.

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It is hard to predict how an offense this successful will change, but we can expect Steve Sarkisian to empty his bag of tricks over the course of the College Football Playoff.