Alabama Team News

Jalen Hurts and the Alabama offense missed Lane Kiffin in 2017

When Nick Saban announced that Brian Daboll had been hired as the new offensive coordinator at Alabama, questions as to whether the hire would work were asked. Those questions were met with replies of Daboll being a “Bill Belichick guy” and his having been an offensive coordinator in the NFL.

Despite not coaching at the collegiate level for almost 20 years, Saban brought Daboll in to carry on where former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin left off. All Kiffin did was help Alabama win three SEC championships with three different starting quarterbacks, make the playoffs in each of his three years, and win a national championship.

No pressure.

The Alabama offense sputtered in its last outing against Auburn, managing to only score 14 points. While the Auburn defense is good, Georgia showed in the SEC Championship Game that it can be had.

Alabama’s offense scored 40+ points in eight games this season and prior to the Auburn game had scored in every quarter this season. It ranks 11th in rushing offense nationally, rushing for over 265 yards per game. The Tide rank 12th in scoring offense at 39.1 points per game, up from 38 points per game from last year.

So why, then, does this offense look so inept at times? Why hasn’t Jalen Hurts progressed as a passer like we thought he would, and how long of a leash does Brian Daboll really have?

After the Auburn loss, Saban made two interesting points about the offense and play-calling.

“We just didn’t do enough in the passing game,” Saban said. “Maybe we just needed better design in what we did.”

As I’ve said before, the one glaring difference in this year’s offense and last year’s is a lack of creativity. Make fun of Kiffin and his jet sweeps all you want, but the man knew how to be creative. Daboll doesn’t seem to have that same creative gene.

“I was fine with our play-calling,” Saban went on to say. “Play-calling is like anything, if it works it’s a good play. If it doesn’t, it’s a bad play.”

Alabama has been the superior team in all, but one game this year and on talent alone should be able to score at will against almost anyone. Daboll was gifted the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year, three great running backs, and a possible first round draft pick at wide receiver in Calvin Ridley – not to mention one of the three best offensive lines in all of college football. Despite that, the Tide are worse on third down conversions than from a year ago, Hurts continues to be a better runner than a passer, and Bama scored only 14 points against Auburn.

Hurts has cut down on his interceptions, but thanks to @CFBFilmRoom, you can see just how his numbers compart to last year.

Jalen Hurts statistics in 2016.

Jalen Hurts statistics in 2016. (CFB Filmroom)

Jalen Hurts 2017 statistics.

Jalen Hurts 2017 statistics. (College Football Film Room)

Daboll has never had a magic touch with quarterbacks like Kiffin. The last time Daboll was even titled as a quarterback’s coach was during his time with the New York Jets in 2007-08; the Jets signed Bret Favre in 2008 so Daboll probably didn’t do much coaching at that point. Daboll spent the last three years as a tight ends coach with New England.

Alabama needed someone who could develop the potential of their young quarterback. Instead, Daboll has settled on making Hurts the leading rusher in a backfield loaded with running talent because he simply can’t make Hurts a better quarterback.

Prev1 of 2
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to view the next page

© 2016, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

To Top