No-huddle Tide? No way. Alabama's 'dinosaur' offense works just fine for Saban, Kiffin

  • Article by: RALPH D. RUSSO , Associated Press
  • Updated: August 31, 2014 - 12:50 PM

ATLANTA — Looking for a way to calm a jittery first-time starting quarterback, No. 2 Alabama broke out the no-huddle offense for a while against West Virginia.

The move helped recalibrate Blake Sims, and the Tide went on to roll to victory.

Up-tempo Alabama? And with the shifty Sims, guiding the offense could the zone-read and spread be next?

Not happening.

Nick Saban is fine with the Tide's old-school ways. In fact, being the "dinosaur" in this age of high-tech offenses is now to Alabama's advantage, Saban said after a 33-23 victory against West Virginia.

The Tide's no-huddle tweak against the Mountaineers came in the second quarter, a suggestion Saban made to new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who is calling plays from the sideline instead of from the coach's box above the field as so many coordinators do.

Going no-huddle helped simplify things for a few moments for Sims, but it's not as if Alabama was suddenly playing at a pace befitting Oregon or Auburn.

The Tide went back to the huddle for most of the game and held the ball for more than 37 minutes. And while Sims' mobility is a new weapon for Saban's offense after years of Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron tucked contentedly in the pocket, don't expect the Tide to stray too far from its traditional sets.

"We're one of the few teams in the world that still play regular people," said Saban, referring to a tight end, two backs and two wide outs. "That's like when I played, that was like getting an empty (backfield). And now we're like the dinosaur age when it comes to that. We also play two tight ends and two wide outs and one back.

"But one thing that I found out about all that is because everybody else is spread and no-huddle, people really have a tough time defending what we do because nobody does it. And it allows us to be more physical and it does allow us to play more players."

It certainly worked fine at the Georgia Dome.

Alabama gained 538 yards and at a very solid clip of 6.6 per play. Last season, Alabama averaged 7.15 per play, tied for fifth in the nation with Ohio State, a spread team, and just a bit behind hurry-up, no-huddle juggernauts Oregon, Baylor and Texas A&M.

No. 1 in the country was Florida State at 7.67 per play — another team that plays dinosaur football, and further proof that it's more about the players you line up than how you line them up.

Kiffin was brought in to replace Doug Nussmeier after last season because he is a believer in a more traditional approach to offense, too.

Saban said having Kiffin on the sideline helped Sims.

"That's why we put him there because that's what we thought he could do to affect the game. Told (Sims) a lot about what we were going to do next so he could anticipate what he had to do," Saban said. "I thought (Kiffin) did a fantastic job."

Kiffin, the former Southern California coach who was fired five games into last season, doesn't have to deal with the media anymore — Saban's assistants are off limits.

Answering questions from reporters was an assignment that often didn't show Kiffin's best side whether it was at USC, Tennessee or as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

As Alabama's players and coaches cleared out of the Georgia Dome, Kiffin leisurely made his way toward the exit and past dozens of reporters who were finishing up interviews with players outside the Tide locker room.

He stepped to the side for moment to fiddle with his phone and headphones. The only question he had to field was from someone who asked him how he was settling into Tuscaloosa and then wished him luck.

"We're 1-0," he said and smiled.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close