Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Loss to Texas A&M may have been best for Crimson Tide in the long run

It finally happened on Saturday. Our run as the undefeated kings of the SEC West came to a screeching halt at the hands of Johnny Football & Co. and the Crimson Tide faithful had to come to the sudden realization that our national title hopes were all but gone.

And you know what? That’s just fine – because not all was lost on Saturday, starting with the opponent the Tide faced.

Before the season, Texas A&M was supposed to be the rookie punching bag of the SEC West in their first year. Obviously, they had different plans, only narrowly losing to Florida and LSU, while putting up a generous number of points against the rest of the West, something many of the teams in the division have struggled to do this season.

The Aggies have established a fearless group led by pint-sized quarterback Johnny Manziel, comparable to Tim Tebow with a dash of Michael Vick speed. Manziel stifled a Crimson Tide team, making them look like a group of lost puppies whenever he bounced outside of the pocket. He has brought the art of the mobile quarterback back to the SEC and has established himself as a true threat, something the Tide seemed to have underestimated.

In a league chock–full of power-running games and bland offenses, the Aggies stand alone with their up-tempo system, an approach not seen since Urban Meyer left Florida in 2010. The quick screens and read options posed problems for the Tide defense, who thought they had seen the worst of it after crushing Ole Miss’s up-tempo style.

But what the Tide’s new SEC West rival has brought to the table is the no-huddle, in-motion style offense that Oregon has used to crush teams in the Pac-12 and beyond. Much of the Tide’s stout defensive line had not seen an offense that fast-paced in a while, if ever, which is why losing to Texas A&M might have been the best thing that could have happened to the Tide this year.

Not only will they have to face the up-tempo pace year in and year out from now on, the Tide will also have an advantage over the rest of the country if Oregon or Kansas State continueto be sucessful in the next few years. One thing is sure about Nick Saban-coached teams: they’re fast learners.

Just look at the result of the 2009 SEC Championship after the Tide fell short to Tim Tebow in 2008. Florida was still running their spread-option attack that killed the Tide a year earlier. But, after a few key adjustments, Alabama was able to prepare for it and prevailed.

Texas A&M now gives the Tide a formidable opponent to prepare for each year if they ever plan to get out of the West unscathed. While LSU prepares their offense well, it is quite one-dimensional compared to what the Aggies run, especially with a quarterback like Manziel guiding the no-huddle.

The spread offense is the offense of the future, despite those who still swear by the running game. A&M figured that out before the season and was not afraid to bring it to the defensive haven known as the SEC, and look what has happened: success.

The only way the Tide will be able to get better is by preparing for different schemes and different sets each week. The Aggies are just the type of rival to help the Tide get back to the national championship and stifle the finesse spread offenses that seem to appear there each year.

So, don’t be discouraged by the loss; be happy the Tide spotted the Aggies a win. Because, after this year, it won’t be as easy to be Johnny Football.


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