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Nick Saban remembers 2015 championship team as Alabama searches for an identity

Alabama head coach Nick Saban yelling on the field during 2022 matchup against Texas A&M
Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first two weeks of the season, Nick Saban and Alabama are still searching for an identity on offense.

There’s certainly a brand of football Saban believed his offense would have, saying on Monday that he expects a physical front who can move the ball in the run game and can set up the pass.

“The identity that we’d like to have is to be physical enough to be able to run the ball consistently effectively, but also be able to have a good play-action game to go with it, Saban said, “Be able to drop back when we need to and be efficient and effective in all those areas.”

Following the Crimson Tide’s loss to Texas last Saturday, the search for an identity has only become more challenging. Against the Longhorns Alabama ran for 107 yards on 35 attempts which equals out to just 3.1 yards per carry. Through the air, quarterback Jalen Milroe completed roughly 52% of his passes along with two interceptions. In summation, neither the ground game or the air attack complemented each other throughout the game.

But this isn’t the first time a Saban led Alabama team has struggled with developing a team identity as he recalled the 2015 national championship team’s growing pains on offense and how it was able to overcome it.

“We were struggling early in the season,” Saban said to the media on Wednesday. “We lost to Ole Miss, early in the season. We were sort of struggling on offense, couldn’t find an identity, eventually found an identity and had a really good season. So you keep searching.

“I think you’ve gotta get the right combination of players, you’ve gotta get the right chemistry and everybody’s got to do a good job. I mean, I don’t care what the identity is, it comes down to execution, whether it’s running or passing or punting, aight. It all comes down to your ability to execute. And we’ve had too many inconsistencies in execution.

“When you take drive stoppers, OK, we had six offensive penalties. Those are drive-stoppers. Two of those penalties took points off the board. We got sacked five times. Sacks are drive-stoppers. Dropped balls are drive-stoppers. We only had one dropped ball. And turnovers are obviously drive-stoppers. The other team gets the ball and you don’t have it.

“So when you add all those up, you should be at a much more efficient percentage than we were Saturday night. You can figure it out. So all those things come down to execution and people’s ability to execute to eliminate that. So we can keep working on it.”

Alabama will travel to South Florida for its matchup on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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