The Alabama Crimson Tide improved to 10-0 last Saturday after defeating the Bulldogs of Mississippi State 24-0, Alabama’s second shutout in as many weeks. The Tide have completely turned their focus to Saturday’s matchup against another Bulldog team, this time from The Citadel, who are currently on a two-game win streak.
Look, I am not going to sit here and ramble on about keys to a Tide victory on Saturday. I will keep it very short and sweet, run the ball, play good defense. That’s it.
In the interest of never taking an opponent for granted, let’s just talk about what’s going on this week inside the team rather than inside the game.
Tua Tagovailoa is piecing together a Heisman trophy campaign that no other player can come close to. What’s even more impressive is he is doing all of this on basically one knee. We don’t really know the extent of this knee injury; the team staff is very close to the vest with that information, especially when it’s our ace. What we do know is that it has been bothering Tagovailoa for over a month and seems to be getting worse, despite what Tagovailoa will tell you. All week now fans have argued and debated about the right thing to do with Tagovailoa, should he play one half? One quarter? Should he even play at all? All 100,000 self-appointed assistant coaches in Tuscaloosa think they have the right solution, however, there is only one that matters. Our head coach.
This is a very complex decision due to multiple factors from both sides. On the one hand, this team has played so well on defense that we, more than likely, won’t need the offensive production that Tagovailoa brings. Jalen Hurts is apparently “game-ready,” and Mac Jones is, well, there if we need him.
Why not let Tagovailoa sit this game out and not risk worsening that knee injury in a potential slaughter? On the other hand, why not just trust the offensive line to protect the quarterback, make conservative play calls, and get him out after one quarter? Here is the answer. Tua Tagovailoa will start Saturday and will play significant minutes. Nick Saban is not going to send a message to the rest of the team that he thinks one player is more important than the other. Even though he is one of the best to ever play here, he isn’t going to get any special treatment.
Another thing Saban won’t do is sit Tagovailoa and let his players think this opponent doesn’t deserve respect. Complacency is Nick Saban’s biggest enemy, he hates it. I would be more surprised to not see Tua Tagovailoa play Saturday, this has just been the way Nick Saban has run this program and the process continues to work.
We trust you, Coach. On a side note, if The Citadel converts a single field goal on Saturday they will have scored more against Alabama than both LSU and Mississippi State combined. Roll Tide.