By now you all know what happened last night…your boy NAILED HTTA’s first ever National Championship Prediction. The score…the analysis…spot on. But that was just the end result…how we got there is what I’d like to focus on.
The first half was a snooze-fest. When the inept offenses did get into the red zone, TD’s just weren’t on the menu. Gee…did anyone point out these teams were both top 15 in the country at preventing Opp TD’s in the Red Zone???
Just at the end of the half, UGA forced yet another 3 and out, and the Dawgs’ offense capitalized- punching one in on a well-designed “Wild-Dawg” play, to take a 13-0 lead.
Then, things got interesting. Coming out for the second half, Nick Saban turned the reins of his struggling offense over to True Freshman- I wasn’t aware of that Chris Fowler, thanks- Tua Tagovailoa. On just his second series he rushed for a key 3rd and 7 conversion, threw for a TD…he didn’t look back.
UGA answered with a BIG PLAY, but that was basically it for them. The Alabama D made the necessary adjustments, and rose to the occasion…smothering the potent Dawgs offense. Kirby showed some signs of panic, and went back to the well with the Wild-Dawg a few too many times.
Offensively, #TuaTime wasn’t perfect, but the offense made the plays when they needed to be made, leading to the OT victory.
This game obviously came down to the players on the field. All games do. But I feel like even the most ardent Saban-haters (ahem, Lil’ Dogg) have to admit, he absolutely, 100% was the difference last night- JUST LIKE I PREDICTED!!! It wasn’t perfect, the first half featured a too many men penalty, a guy going nuts on the sideline, and then they had that firedrill just before the end of regulation. But when it came down to it, Saban made the moves when they mattered:
- Halftime adjustments are tough to quantify, but the Alabama defense clearly came out playing differently in the second half.
- The decision go with #TuaTime in a two score national championship game is one that I’m not sure any other coach on the planet would make. Sticking with him after a stalled out first series, and after a terrible pick early on…that’s just adding to the legend.
- Turning the backfield load over to another True Freshman Najee Harris…instead of his upperclassmen. This was just the jolt the ground attack needed.
- Going for it on 4th and 4 from the 7 is a decision that was FAR from a no-brainer. It wasn’t terribly bold but many coaches may have taken the 3 there…kick off…use the timeouts and try again.
So there you go…tactical adjustments, soft skills in motivation and handling Hurts, personnel evaluation, and in-game decision making. In a span of 30 minutes plus a Kendrick Lamar set, Nick Saban shows why he is the GOAT.
I’ll leave you with one little tidbit. This is Nick Saban’s 6th title, which is more than…ALL OTHER ACTIVE HEAD COACHES COMBINED.