The Atlanta Falcons lured former Alabama Crimson Tide OC, Steve Sarkisian away from the dominant college program to run the Falcons high-powered offense led by MVP Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. It’s a great move by the Falcons but ‘Bama is now without one of the people they could not afford to lose.
To Nick Saban, this is nothing but another challenge as he looks to get his team back atop the National standings but it won’t be easy. As far as Alabama’s offense goes, there were times last year when the offense stalled. The finger can be pointed at the inexperience of freshman Jalen Hurts as he’s not the conventional passer the Tide may have liked but he’s young and will look to bounce back in 2017. The running game is solid as both backs, Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough are expected back for another title run.
As great as the individual talent was, Sarkisian’s offense was not perfect. It was the right time for a switch even if neither party saw it coming or wanted it.
But, what’s next is the question for the Tide? Who can come in and make his presence felt and install an offense so lethal that even the ‘Bama defense can’t stop it in practice? The only answer to that is Chip Kelly. Kelly has a resume that will rival anyone’s but, will he be willing to accept a lesser role and not be seen as the “main guy”? If he can swallow his pride, he will turn Alabama into something Saban never imagined.
Last season Bama ranked 16th in scoring offense, 87th in passing yards and 12th in rushing yards. The talent is there but the mechanics and schemes must be tweaked in order to make them two-dimensional. With Sarkisian, it was snap the ball and hit the corners with the two backs and Hurts but, if Kelly were to get ahold of these playmakers we could see signs of that deadly Oregon offense and what he was able to do with the Philadelphia Eagles in his first season.
Now, I know that Kelly’s name does not excite people but if it’s one coach that can contain Kelly, it’s Saban. Kelly was football at Oregon but Saban is College. He rules the sport and has done so with an iron fist. If Kelly can keep his ego in check then this could be the makings of something special in Alabama.
Imagine what he could do for the confidence of Hurts. During the Championship game against Clemson, a lot of his passes were short throws, due to Sarkisian’s lack of trust in the freshman’s arm but, if Kelly can get mold him we may get to see the second coming of Marcus Mariota. Think about some of Kelly’s numbers with QBs.
Darron Thomas- QB (2010) 30 TD passes
Darron Thomas- QB (2011) 33 TD passes
Marcus Mariota- QB (2012) 32 TD passes
Nick Foles- QB (2013 Eagles) 27 TD passes
Kelly has the playbook to turn Hurts into a dangerous player. Where Sarkisian saw Hurts as more ground attack, Kelly will see hm more as a dual threat. He has the legs, this we know but a Kelly scheme will turn his arm into a weapon as well. This is a stretch and possibly won’t happen but the Tide could have one of those runs with both Saban and Kelly recruiting that could become the stuff of legends.