Alabama Football: How Much Blame Does Nick Saban Deserve for LSU Loss?

T.J. Mcaloon@@tjmcaloonContributorNovember 6, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide calls for a review from the sidelines during the first half of the game against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Nick Saban did not miss those field goals last night—Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley did.

Nick Saban did not throw for only 199 yards or let LSU safety Eric Reid rip the ball out of his hands. Coach Saban did not allow LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson to complete a huge 29-yard pass to set up a field goal to end the first half.  

Coach Saban is not responsible for any of those mistakes. It’s why the head coach should not be blamed for Alabama’s loss last night in overtime to LSU.  

But you will see reaction pieces today from people like ESPN’s Skip Bayless questioning Saban’s play call during overtime. 

Yes, breaking the huddle with 12 men is inexcusable, but it’s one mistake on second down that should not have decided Alabama’s first overtime possession. 

The game plan for Alabama was never going to be to air it out downfield. The LSU defense is too good to let that happen, as was shown when Alabama’s wide receiver Marquis Maze tried to loft a pass to his receiver only to have Reid make that incredible play.  

Let’s say that Reid isn’t there or doesn’t make a play that half of the NFL’s safeties probably wouldn’t have made last night.  

Then it’s 1st-and-goal for the Crimson Tide on the LSU 2-yard line, with a sure-bet touchdown forthcoming. Trent Richardson would have gotten the ball once or twice and would have punched it in, thus giving Alabama a 13-6 lead and the No. 1 spot in the BCS standings.  

Instead, the press conference afterward is all about the kicking game, the Reid interception and Alabama's two turnovers. Not about his near-perfect game plan for the Alabama defense.  

Nick Saban had an amazing game plan for last night’s contest. He was not out-coached by Les Miles.

He just wasn’t as lucky as Miles was. Who would have thought that the one aspect of the game that would matter was whose special teams unit was better?

LSU was outplayed in every aspect of that game last night. Just like that Reid interception, if any one of those kicks that sailed wide right would have been a foot or two more to the left, they easily go through and Alabama wins the game 9-6.  

Last night’s game came down to unlucky bounces instead of skill deciding who the best team in the SEC is.  

The result was a lot of people's faults. However, the finger of blame should not be pointed towards coach Saban.