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Alabama Football—Nick Saban: Even Achilles Had His Heel

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide walks on the field against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Jonathan McDanalContributor IIINovember 23, 2011

So, the more I watch Alabama Football this year, the more confused I am by Nick Saban. The man is one of the best coaches in college football today, and his book spells out exactly why that is the case.

According to mythology, Achilles was dipped into the river Styx to make him invincible. The only spot he was vulnerable in was the heel his mother held to dip him.

Nick Saban's Achilles heel is the option offense. He suffered at the hands of the 2008 Florida Gators in the SEC Championship because of the option offense. He came back in 2009 to destroy them in that same conference championship with a 32-13 victory.

That was the moment all 'Bama fans assumed that Saban had incorporated a "how to stop the option" course in his famed system. However, we have seen the 2011 version of the Crimson Tide suffer at the hands of the option twice already.

Though LSU didn't score a touchdown against us, the Jordan Jefferson-run option offense gouged us for 150-plus yards in the second half alone. Also, though Georgia Southern didn't win, they were FAR from out of the game until the fourth quarter.

Their option offense gouged us for 302 yards on the ground, with the worst play being an 82-yard dive play for a touchdown (82 yards because they ran out of field to gouge us with.)

That brings me to Saban and his system. In his book, he cites Dr. Terry Orlick's "seven components of excellence." The seventh is "constant learning."

I'm reminded of a quote, which has become quite notorious in the world of Alabama football. Saban essentially says he won't run the option because he doesn't know how to coach it, among other reasons.

My question to Nick Saban (if I only had one to ask, the others are for another article) would be, "how many more times will the option burn you before you learn it well enough to coach against it?"

I have no interest in asking Saban to abandon his current system in order to run the wishbone, although I can't say that's true for all 'Bama fans.

A balanced offense can be run from many different looks, and I think we have the tools necessary for a championship (though some aren't fully sharpened yet).

I'm simply asking Saban to amputate his Achilles' heel, hopefully before Jan. 3 goes down as another 2008 SEC Championship.

 

*stats from espn.com were used in this article

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