| FTBL Apparently, Defense STILL wins championships...

Crimson&WhiteGecko

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After taking a few days to work & get much of the gut reactions out of my system, I thought I take a few minutes to bring this back up. The 2018 defensive team has galvanized themselves at doing something NO Alabama defense under CNS... Allowing a competitors offense to win by a margin of 28 points. Granted, 7 of those points should be laid at the feet of Tua, so adjusting for that we are down to 21 points. Again, that's never happened. How did this happen? I've put together some thoughts on the matter & I encourage your feedback.

1st. Tosh Lupoi is in his first year as defensive coordinator. It is what it is. There have been solid cracks in the armor of this defense all season. Many of which led to big plays. For me, the jury is still out on him. But I have 100% faith in CNS at assessing this guys ability. One of the advantages of Lupoi is that nobody is trying to poach him away & I think one of the major advantages of Clemson is the thread of consistency with Venables. We had this with flowbeecut & we had some stellar defenses. Hopefully this can be recaptured.

2nd. I've been saying this all year -- Our LB play is good, but not great. Just about every game this season an LB of some sort is good for a major bust. Either in tackling or in coverage, they make some kinda big mistake. This is especially the case when playing against good to great offenses. We just don't have that monstrous LB that devours people & it is a big concern. After we had so many injuries at LB last year & all the game experience that these guys had, I thought that surely this position would be the strength the defense. It wasn't. This falls on coaching & maturity

3rd. The Defensive Line was good, primarily due to Q Williams. Many players on the DL just had a ho-hum season. This last game has forced their draft stock downward & rightfully so.

4th. We knew that replacing so many in the backfield would be a problem this year. We knew it. They just got a pass because of how good our offense was. Heck, the whole defense got a pass. Unfortunately, this past game it all just came to roost. Especially, with the lack of pass rush not being able to help the backfield.

5th. Why aren't we substituting more players? I know that we are substituting but we are not masters in it like before. It seems that we just don't think it is relevant or that we don't have the confidence with the backups. This is how we build long term depth/experience & we used to do it more no matter the score or the competition. I remember we had 19 guys on the field after an TV & when we saw the offense, 8 guys ran off the field, thus allowing the players to not be gassed at all making to their positions. This was brilliance. It's technical but it pays dividends.

In all, we are an extremely young defense in personnel & in coaching. I think this is the fundamental reason we got beat like this, especially considering the older, more mature Clemson team who decided to return this past year. I'm very eager to see who declares for the draft early. I think only Q is a first round pick but even then it would do him some good to stay another year. Hopefully, the legacy that this defensive team has created for themselves will motivate them beyond anything we've seen to get things right, work much harder, & have maturity that is needed to be a championship caliber defense that is the norm at Alabama.
 
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Bamabww

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Agree with you and especially this:

we are an extremely young defense in personnel & in coaching. I think this is the fundamental reason we got beat like this, especially considering the older, more mature Clemson team who decided to return this past year.
I can't remember a season when we got so many personal foul penalties, most of them during critical times in the game. I also can't remember a time in the last ten years when we had players just "quit" during a game. Hopefully that can be improved on with coaching and maturity and if not it opens a place for someone else.
 

Sgt. Lincoln Osiris

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You're forgetting Tua's 2nd pick that Clemson drove down and scored immediately after. So 14 of those points belong to Tua.
 

Crtuneman

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My biggest question is the lack of depth. Why are all these 5 star and 4 star players not getting playing time? Are they just that unprepared? Is the defense too difficult? The Alabama roster is supposedly stacked and yet we have zero depth. It doesn't make sense to me.
 

musso

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Joel Klatt, who I usually find to have fair and even-handed analysis (since his epic fail), had good thoughts. He said Bama is like a Factory while Clemson is like a Family. In these last four seasons, Saban has played Clemson with a different set of coordinators each time, with a total of 13 coaching changes. In the same four-year span, Dabo has had two minor coaching changes with zero changes in his coordinators. Klatt said that while Saban's model has worked and can continue to work, with so many people coming and going (coaches and players) each year, it eventually becomes inevitable that you run into a wall like this.

Finebaum elaborated on something valuable too. Saban is known to be difficult to work for. The trade-off is that as you go to work for Saban and get verally abused from time to time, you also get valuable knowledge to leverage into a better position elsewhere. Dabo, on the other hand, is so much easier to work for if you prioritize staying put for the long haul (like a family) ... not unlike Bobby Bowden's run at FSU where he kept his staff together for a long time.

Finebaum also mentioned, like others here, suspicion that Tosh was in over his head this year. I actually remember Saban's comments to the media after promoting Tosh to DC last year. When asked about it, Saban never came out to say Tosh was qualified but instead said something about Tosh having potential to become more than a recruiter. But I think Saban needed Tosh's recruiting assets so much that he had to promote him to keep him from taking another DC job (at Washington, I think).
 

OldPlayer

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I think too many people are looking for excuses for the loss. It's time to move forward. It's been more than 24 hours.
 

mando

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My take on some of the possible reasons for the debacle we saw on Monday night - Losing depth on D-Line due to early draft entrees, recruiting misses (went elsewhere or did not live up to their billing) on D-Line/Secondary, coaching turnover year to year especially at coordinator position, almost an entirely new coaching staff, bad game plan, reading our own headlines, injuries to some key positions, to many mistakes on game day, Clemson is pretty good - just to name a few:)

When doing retros there is never one why... It is a combo and I am sure Saban is doing his on internal review and working to resolve.
 
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jlabit

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Agree that there are multiple factors, but I believe the whole debacle can be traced back to coaching. I was concerned that the defense was winded, with hands on the hips, in the second quarter, where they had not been on the field that long. That makes me question Cochran and the 4th quarter program. Not sure of the exact numbers, but it's something like 5 OC's in the past 5 years, and 3 DC's in the past 5 years. That kind of turn over does not make for continuity of any sort. Musso hit it right on the money in his first paragraph. I'm not sure what Saban can do to change this. These coaches come to Bama for training under Saban, and then want the promotion to HC when it is offered. I believe we are going to see these things begin to happen at Clemson, with their continued success.
 

ChemE

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At the end of the day, our "greatest of all-time" offense with all your 5-star talent, our loaded WR corps, our general experience and a "once a generational QB," put up 16 points vs. Clemson. 16 points. Yes, Clemson has the best defense in the country they played well. But it's only 16 points and it isn't 1996 anymore so that rarely is gonna cut it
Now, if you expected our defense to hold them to less than 15 points (especially when included a pick 6) then you're not reasonable and it would be pointless to engage in debate with you.
 

bamatommy

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After taking a few days to work & get much of the gut reactions out of my system, I thought I take a few minutes to bring this back up. The 2018 defensive team has galvanized themselves at doing something NO Alabama defense under CNS... Allowing a competitors offense to win by a margin of 28 points. Granted, 7 of those points should be laid at the feet of Tua, so adjusting for that we are down to 21 points. Again, that's never happened. How did this happen? I've put together some thoughts on the matter & I encourage your feedback.

1st. Tosh Lupoi is in his first year as defensive coordinator. It is what it is. There have been solid cracks in the armor of this defense all season. Many of which led to big plays. For me, the jury is still out on him. But I have 100% faith in CNS at assessing this guys ability. One of the advantages of Lupoi is that nobody is trying to poach him away & I think one of the major advantages of Clemson is the thread of consistency with Venables. We had this with flowbeecut & we had some stellar defenses. Hopefully this can be recaptured.

2nd. I've been saying this all year -- Our LB play is good, but not great. Just about every game this season an LB of some sort is good for a major bust. Either in tackling or in coverage, they make some kinda big mistake. This is especially the case when playing against good to great offenses. We just don't have that monstrous LB that devours people & it is a big concern. After we had so many injuries at LB last year & all the game experience that these guys had, I thought that surely this position would be the strength the defense. It wasn't. This falls on coaching & maturity

3rd. The Defensive Line was good, primarily due to Q Williams. Many players on the DL just had a ho-hum season. This last game has forced their draft stock downward & rightfully so.

4th. We knew that replacing so many in the backfield would be a problem this year. We knew it. They just got a pass because of how good our offense was. Heck, the whole defense got a pass. Unfortunately, this past game it all just came to roost. Especially, with the lack of pass rush not being able to help the backfield.

5th. Why aren't we substituting more players? I know that we are substituting but we are not masters in it like before. It seems that we just don't think it is relevant or that we don't have the confidence with the backups. This is how we build long term depth/experience & we used to do it more no matter the score or the competition. I remember we had 19 guys on the field after an TV & when we saw the offense, 8 guys ran off the field, thus allowing the players to not be gassed at all making to their positions. This was brilliance. It's technical but it pays dividends.

In all, we are an extremely young defense in personnel & in coaching. I think this is the fundamental reason we got beat like this, especially considering the older, more mature Clemson team who decided to return this past year. I'm very eager to see who declares for the draft early. I think only Q is a first round pick but even then it would do him some good to stay another year. Hopefully, the legacy that this defensive team has created for themselves will motivate them beyond anything we've seen to get things right, work much harder, & have maturity that is needed to be a championship caliber defense that is the norm at Alabama.
Bravo!
 

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