Texas’ biggest advantage against Alabama

Texas’ biggest advantage against Alabama

When No. 1 Alabama comes calling in Austin on Sept. 10 it represents the biggest challenge for the Longhorns program in years.  These teams met for a national title following the 2009  season and since then they have traveled in opposite directions.  Alabama claimed that championship and five more, while Texas has dipped into mediocrity.

If Texas can defeat the Tide it would be a massive win, a huge recruiting boon, and would signal that perhaps after many false starts Texas is back.  But beating ‘Bama is easier said than done.  They boast the returning Heisman Trophy winner, weapons galore on offense and probably the best overall player in the nation in defensive end / outside linebacker Will Anderson.

So, how does Texas knock off Goliath?  The biggest key to a Longhorn victory may be the head coach himself, Steve Sarkisian.

After his stint as head coach at USC came to a rather inglorious end, Sarkisian joined Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as an analyst. He worked there alongside Lane Kiffin as they revamped the Tide’s offense from the traditional ground and pound preferred by early Saban teams to a modern spread offense that combines elements of pro style attack with the RPO schemes prevalent today.  These adjustments revolutionized Alabama, creating the offensive juggernaut that we now know. Sarkisian eventually became the offensive coordinator at Alabama following Kiffin’s departure.   In his final season with the Tide Sarkisian displayed his genius for using formations, shifts, and motions to create favorable matchups and space to showcase high level playmakers such as Devonta Smith.  He also displayed an ability to create schemes that made  elite defenses look very average.

When you combine Sark’s offensive genius with the fact that he competed with and schemed against the Bama defense in spring practice throughout his time in Tuscaloosa you can see how Sarkisian could be Texas’ greatest weapon.  Many coaches can create matchups in the first series or two against Alabama, but Sarkisian may have the ingredients to consistently find ways to get Longhorn weapons like Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittingham open against the complex Tide secondary.  This could also open up running lanes for Texas’ potent running game. 

If Sarkisian can continue to adapt once Saban and Alabama DC Pete Golding adjust to his opening gambits and Texas is able to have success after their initial drive, the Longhorns will have a fighting chance against the Tide.

Sarkisian is part of the offensive revolution Nick Saban asked for at Alabama, but his knowledge of play calling and design could spell trouble for the Tide in Austin.

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1 Comment

  • Sarkasian had first round talent on the offensive line….and Heisman trophy quarterbacks

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