Alabama Football: Can the Crimson Tide turn back the clock?

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football head coach, Nick Saban is gifted at many things. At times in his Alabama Crimson Tide career, some have attributed he has superpowers. To the extent Saban has some special powers, they do not include being able to turn back the clock.

I’m not talking about the age clock. No one can turn it back. Slowing it is a major achievement and by most counts, Nick Saban has done that, allowing him to be one of the most vibrant 71-year-olds in the world.

Some Alabama football fans want another clock turned back. They want Alabama to return to power football, pounding opposing defensive lines into submission. With one of the best or maybe, the best running back group in college football, running the ball more makes sense.

Success on the ground would also require more consistent performance from the offensive line than the Crimson Tide has had over the last couple of seasons. There is optimism Eric Wolford’s 2023 group will provide that consistency and more. Wolford’s University of Kentucky and University of South Carolina offensive lines were known for physicality, and some of his Wildcats frequently earned being called nasty.

If Alabama relies more on a ground attack in 2023, it will not resemble the power run designs the Crimson Tide used en route to four National Championships in seven seasons. Instead, as Nick Saban has stated multiple times, it will be RPO-based. Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner can all successfully operate an RPO offense.

Once the Crimson Tide’s offensive line gels, the RPO attack can be consistently effective. Until the Tide’s O-line comes together, it is unlikely Alabama can win any high-scoring shootouts. Unfortunately, in the 2023 season, there is very little settling in time before the Texas game.

There is a flip side to concern about the Tide offense not being powerful enough early. None of the Crimson Tide wrinkles coming from new OC, Tommy Rees will be shown in week one against Middle Tennessee State. The Longhorns’ defense will be forced to adjust to new looks and to an extent, an amended offensive scheme.

It will still be Nick Saban’s Alabama Football offense but with Tommy Rees variations in scheme and formation. Texas will be prepared for much of it, but not close to all of it.

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Alabama needed magic from Bryce Young to escape Austin last season. This September what the Tide will need most is unrelenting pressure on Quinn Ewers.