Alabama Football News

Offensive woes continue for Alabama under Bill O’Brien

Bill O'Brien mad
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

It is never a good thing when the head coach says a team has not played like itself.

Nick Saban made it known about Alabama during today’s presser. He said several times that many areas of the Crimson Tide’s performance against LSU ‘did not look like Alabama football.’ Coach Saban blamed himself, but he wants to see everyone improve moving forward. Much of the frustration from him and Tide fans came from the offensive output versus a depleted Tigers defense.

RELATED: WATCH: Nick Saban Monday Press Conference

Bill O’Brien coached the offense to a season-low 20 points against LSU. The Tigers had their second, third, and fourth-best options defensively on the field, but the Tide posted only three touchdowns. Alabama’s offensive production, scoring-wise, was its worst since the 2018 season. During that year, it was held under 30 points in matchups with LSU (29) and Mississippi State (24).

Before the game, Alabama was favored by -28.5 points over the Tigers. In two seasons as offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian never coached a game where the Tide scored less than 30 points. Alabama had five games under Sarkisian (2019-20) where it recorded under 40 points. Three of the games were in 2019 as the Tide dealt with injuries to Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback.

Sarkisian guided Alabama to 40+ points in 21 of 26 games, which equals 81 percent of the time.

The Tide has been out of sync at times with O’Brien, and it did not happen with Sarkisian.

Despite close wins Alabama had in 2014 with Lane Kiffin calling plays, Saban was transitioning from an “old-school” look to an upgrade. When that happens, it takes time for an offense to adjust. Alabama has been five years removed from Kiffin. Brian Daboll, Michael Locksley, and Sarkisian all brought something different to a wide-open offensive philosophy that’s helped the Tide. O’Brien, who spent a lot of time under Bill Belichick in the National Football League, reflects Alabama from 10-12 years ago. He does not fit what Alabama is now, and that’s a high-flying offense with west coast tendencies. We have had several games this year where fans have not been pleased with the offensive play-calling.

The offensive line has had issues, and this brings Doug Marrone into questioning as well.

RELATED: Alabama OL Darrian Dalcourt day-to-day with an ankle sprain

Saban discussed how the team did not pass protect or run the ball effectively versus LSU.

Mac Jones was sacked 13 times in 2020 and was hit less than that. Bryce Young, on the other hand, has been sacked 21 times. He was sacked four times against the Tigers and Texas A&M, especially taking a wicked shot versus LSU. In nine games, Young has been sacked at least once for Alabama.

Emil Ekiyor, a junior at right guard, told reporters the problem must be corrected.

Whether it is one particular thing or a combination, Alabama’s offense has not been on the same page at times. Coach O’Brien has to fix this, especially in today’s college football where teams have to score to win games.

Alabama’s offense will face New Mexico State this week at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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