DALLAS — Before offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin came to Alabama after the 2013 season, people didn’t use no-huddle to describe the Crimson Tide offense. Hurry-up wasn’t even in the conversation.
Now that’s different. Alabama coach Nick Saban does change the way his teams play, even if this year has been run-heavy like many of his previous teams have been.
“I think that that’s something people don’t give him very much credit for,” Kiffin said Sunday. “The thing about him is he is always changing. They think maybe he’s old school and it just is how it is. It’s not. Whether it’s him bringing in other people in or sending us out to go see people, and he does it on defense too. He’s always watching, he’s always looking at things and new approach to things.”
Kiffin appreciates the loose reins on the offense. It’s allowed them to change the tempo like in 2014 and to an extent this year.
The past two years, Alabama has averaged 73 plays a game even with two different approaches to the offense. 2014 featured receivers more than runnings backs.
“One of the things coach Saban talks about is always utilizing your players and not just trying to do what you do,” Kiffin said. “And so I think the offense is a very good example of that. Much different obviously from last year. Very different quarterback from Blake [Sims] to Jake [Coker]. Having Amari Cooper catching 125 passes. And then a year later going to games where we’re running the ball 80 percent of the time in the game.”
Last year, Biletnikoff winner Cooper had 1,727 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns. First-year starter and fifth-year senior Sims went to a no-huddle to adapt to starting under center.
This year the offense has still been focused on using its players effectively, even if that means giving Derrick Henry the ball 40-plus times in consecutive games.
“It just blows me away sometimes because I ask the guys from upstairs on the headset, ‘Where’s he at?’ ‘Oh, he’s at 32 or 36 or 38 carries’ but it doesn’t seem like it,” Kiffin said. “It doesn’t even seem like you’re giving him all that much. It doesn’t seem like he’s wearing down, and you’re down there to see the body language, to see how he is and we both talk about it all the time about taking him out, but there’s no reason to.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports