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Overall Grade: C
Nick Saban played an odd game against the Bulldogs in Atlanta. Sometimes, the staff was aggressive. Other times, the coaches all looked completely stymied by Georgia on all sides of the ball. The passing attack was stifled early on, but they weren't going to the run. After the run started to succeed, they wanted to go to the pass. (Presumably to see if it would work.) It kind of did, but not really.
Up until late in the second quarter, the screen game was largely ignored. At the end of the first half, Saban missed an opportunity to call a timeout that would have given the Tide two shots (or three) at the end zone instead of the automatic field goal. Had Georgia scored on the final drive, that would have been a giant mistake.
There's no way you can legitimately give a staff that won a game lower than a “C” when they made the right call for the vast majority of the game. However, the staff once again tried my patience at enforcing that principle. The configuration of the defense on Georgia's final drive almost got them into serious trouble.
If anyone has ever seen a “prevent” defense actually prevent anything, please let me know in the comment section. To my personal firsthand knowledge, a prevent defense is good when you've got a secondary that can jump almost every route and come away with a turnover. Most times a prevent defense has been employed in my sight, it has succeeded in preventing the team on defense from winning the game.
This was one of the exceptions to that rule. The LSU game earlier this season was the proof of that rule. There's no real way to tell if it was the players or coaches that were playing scared without a lie-detector test, but it sure looked like the play-calling was tentative. If they don't trust the new offensive coordinator yet, then why did they hire him? If they do trust him, then why does he seem to be playing scared? Just some food for thought there, feel free to offer a different perspective in the comment section.