Larry Burton (Panama City Beach, Fla.) The BCS Game was one that had a big secret. Nick Saban didn't want anyone to know just how bad his quarterback was hurt for that game.
Greg McElroy's ribs were hurting and he wanted the fact hidden that they were cracked ribs inside a flack jacket. He didn't want Texas to zero in on his most experienced field general.
He threw for only six completions, for a total of only only 58 yards. Still Saban hoped he wouldn't have to burn a red shirt year for the man he had tapped as second string before the game, true freshman A.J. McCarron.
So the game plan was simple. McElroy would simply hand off, stay away from any hits, and Alabama would simply give up trying to be a balanced offense as Saban had tried so hard to get all year.
Texas was supposed to be the best defense in the nation. They forgot to tell that to Alabama.
By halftime the game was over, it was 24-6 and some of the some of the linemen on the Alabama team were downright giddy. Mike Johnson told me at the Senior Bowl that, "It was great! They simply couldn't stop us. I knew we just pound it down their throat all game long."
Alabama was able to coast to an easy win over a formidable opponent from there by killing the clock and simply playing smash mouth football.
Why is there no love if you're the coach with those smash mouth players in your uniforms?
Though Texas continued to fight bravely, the whole time I was watching, their defense continued to give up yard after yard and watching not one but two backs go over a hundred yards rushing on the so called best defense in America, I was reminded of a sign I once saw in the Alabama locker room.
It simply said, "Make their ass quit!"
Nothing kills an opposing team's morale faster than simply lining it up and running it down their throats and making them like it.
It just sucks the life out of a team.
It did with Texas.
If Texas really was the second best team in America for that game, then Alabama had no peers last year. It was clear by the second quarter that Texas was out manned, out muscled, and way over matched.
Nick Saban wanted to make sure Texas not only figured that out too, but felt it the next day. Not only did they crush the Texas quarterback, they pimp slapped the whole team that was supposed to be the second best program in America.
Though Texas managed to make it respectable against the substitutes on the defense in the second half, those Alabama running backs and those linemen made the Texas defense quit.
Nick Saban's daughter could have run that last touchdown through that tired Texas line.
When Saban came here in 2007 not one lineman bench pressed 400 pounds, today, no offensive lineman presses less than 400. Thank you Nick Saban and Scott Cochran.
This year Saban has vowed to create more explosive plays, to open up the passing game, and get a true balanced offense for this year's Crimson Tide.
But it's nice to know if that doesn't go as planned, he can always pull out the smash mouth card.