All of the top teams are no strangers to harsh criticism due to their status as a powerhouse. Most of the time, the hate they receive is based on biased jealousy. The Alabama Crimson Tide are no exception to the rules of criticism. In Lindy’s 2019 College Football season preview, anonymous coaches personally call out Alabama and Tua Tagovailoa. These anonymous coaches went on to take an interesting perspective of the low expectations of the Tide in 2019. One coach went on to make an outside perspective of the mental progression of Tagovailoa and it impacted his performance in the 2019 National Championship game. This was the game where Alabama lost to the Clemson Tigers 44-16.
These coaches, that were interviewed by Lindy’s Sports, didn’t give their names for obvious reasons. But their statement implies more harm than good when critiquing the Tide overall. It is unknown which team the coaches were with that chose to critique Alabama. One media site jokingly depicted the unnamed coach as Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. This was to challenge the mentality and the demand of his players. This theory seems highly unlikely since these critic’s emphasis was on the personal attitude of players like Tagovailoa. If anything for coach Saban, this is just a fuel igniter for his determination to coaching his National Championship contending team.
Anonymous coach’s hot take on Tua Tagovailoa’s “arrogant attitude”
The main player this coach wanted to make their voice heard was of the best player of one of the top teams in the nation in Tagovailoa. Since arriving on campus, Tagovailoa was a tough and determined but calm, respectable player for the Crimson Tide. Don’t tell that to the critic who chose to slam Tagovailoa for mistaking his hunger to win for arrogance. The coach said, “I think he needs to humble himself.” The coach went on to say that he did some things to cost Alabama the National Championship game against Clemson. The coach decided to go into a more personal hot take with “he needs to understand Alabama won National Championships by playing great defense and special teams and not beating itself. In the National Championship game, the quarterback play was atrocious, and some would say the play-calling, too.”
Don’t mistake Tua’s drive for excellent for arrogance
While Alabama has won championships based on their strong defensive performances, it wouldn’t have been possible without a consistent offense. In the 2016 National Championship game, the Clemson Tigers outgained the Crimson Tide offense in total yards 550 to 473. It was the efficient blocking of the offensive line, the passing of quarterback Jacob Coker (335 yards and two touchdowns), and the rushing attack of Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry (158 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries) that took the national title. An even more recent example of Alabama’s offensive production in the title game was in the 2018 National Championship against Georgia. It was Tagovailoa that provided the spark in the second half for the Crimson Tide. Tagovailoa threw for 14 completions (out of 24 attempts) for 144 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
His 41-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeVonta Smith to win the title over Georgia will go down as one of the top finishes in college football history. While he was not the most efficient quarterback against Clemson last January, it was a team collapse instead of one player. The Tide lost by 28 points, not just by one touchdown. The defense wasn’t efficient either and the offensive line play was poor. Overall, Tagovailoa’s drive and mentality to win and get better has been nothing short of impressive. There are videos of him practicing his drop steps and progressions in the rain outside of practice. His teammates and coaches have always praised his positive attitude towards his fellow Tide players. Even former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville defended the positivity that Tagovailoa displays as a team player. Perhaps, it takes an outside perspective to see differently.
Anonymous coaches’ hot take on Alabama’s defense
Another form of critiquing these coaches made of Alabama was a reasonable projection of the wins and losses for Alabama next season. The reasoning behind the projections seems lacking in actual understanding and logic of the team. One coach believes that the defense will be the weak link for the Crimson Tide in 2019. The result of this will bring the potential of two losses to three losses next year for Alabama. Some attributes that provoke this theory is the loss of middle linebacker Mack Wilson to the 2019 NFL Draft. Another key loss the coach is suggesting Alabama will suffer from is at the defensive line. The coach goes on to say that defensive end Raekwon Davis regressed heavily after the 2017 college football season.
Tide’s defense likely to be more stout than a weak link in 2019
Off the bat, this critique is more reasonable than what Tagovailoa received but there are many holes in this theory. Alabama returns eight starters on defense from the previous season including those who started a part of the season. The Tide do lose their top three sackers from last season in defensive end Isaiah Buggs (9.5), defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (8), and outside linebacker Christian Miller (8). The Tide will have plenty of options of potential rushers in hybrid position players in Anfernee Jennings and a healthy Terrell Lewis. Davis knew of his slip from the 2017 season to last season. He chose to come back to Alabama instead of going to the 2019 NFL Draft. While Wilson was a great player for the Tide last season, he was not the best all-around defender. He let some passes slip when he played in zone coverages.
Dylan Moses was the Tide’s top all-around middle linebacker last season. He played well in tackling behind the line of scrimmage, staying in zone coverage, and making consistent open-field tackles. The worst the Tide’s defense has been in terms of production in any of the major categories was in 2014. That year, Alabama’s defense was ranked 61st in passing yards allowed per game (223.7). Then, the Tide returned only five starters from the 2013 season including one safety and one limited starting cornerback. The Crimson Tide have much more of a strong starting cast this season than in the past couple of seasons. Other than the new starters on the defensive line, Alabama’s defense is solid and will be a strength rather than a weakness.