Now the Coaching Begins

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Football Score

Originally Posted 9/27/15

Note One: I saw it, and I still don’t believe it. I call it officials’ revenge. Saturday a week ago Mississippi completed a TD pass with a lineman five yards downfield. That’s illegal. The officials did not call a penalty, and the TD stood which contributed heavily to Bama losing the game. Saturday against Louisiana- Monroe, Bama completed a pass with two linemen three yards downfield. That’s legal.  A penalty was called because Bama had linemen downfield. A TV replay confirmed that the Bama pass play was legal.  The announcers indicated Nick Saban might have been complaining to the officials or the officials’ office during the week . Bama gets penalized, and Mississippi doesn’t. Officials’ revenge for complaining, that’s what I call it.  That Bama penalty for linemen downfield on a pass play is the first one I recall being called in a long time.

Original story below.

Most people think Bear Bryant was at his best when he coached a win. Bear Bryant was actually better when he coached after a loss.

How could I possibly know that? Our son was there after Bama lost their opening game to Missouri in the 1975 season at Legion Field. Missouri had a running back named Tony Galbreath who ran up and down the field all night, and I think even considered running back to Missouri on foot after the game.

Bama didn’t lose another game that year, but, as it is mostly now, that loss took Bama out of championship contention at the end of the season. Last season Bama did sneak into the fourth slot of the playoffs by some slim percentage points, but that won’t happen this season because of the number of teams ahead of them now after the loss to Mississippi Saturday night.

Coach Bryant had to gear up for some new psychology after that Missouri loss. There weren’t that many of them, and it required different thinking. The players had to shift from championship potential mode to playing for pride, to playing to make their mommas and their daddies proud of them, to playing so that in later years they would remember what they did in adverse circumstances. Bear had a way of reminding players that you sure as to heck were going to face many adversities in life, and you’ve better know what it felt like.

Coach Saban faces eerily similar circumstances. Now it is not for a shot at a national championship, but the team has gotta crank it up for the rest of the season. The team has to show what they are made of, what’s inside of them, and that their mommas and daddies would be proud of them.

Wait a minute. I’m sounding like Bear Bryant. But Coach Saban has to employ some of the same psychology, updated 2015 style.

As the announcer said Saturday night, all the breaks in the game went against Bama. Of course five turnovers and no takeaways from the other team can cause that. But one bounce of the ball the other way, and Bama would have won.

The desperation pass the Mississippi QB threw like a shot put in the air that bounced off a Bama player’s helmet into the hands of a Mississippi receiver behind everybody else, and all he had to do was to waltz into the end zone. That type of pass normally results in a TD for the defense meaning Bama would have had seven more points, and Mississippi seven less. That tells you how simply the score could have been reversed.

The TD where the officials did a replay to see if the Mississippi QB stepped over the line of scrimmage before he tossed a TD pass to a wide open receiver. The reason he was open was not a dereliction of duty by the Bama defensive back, who saw a Mississippi lineman downfield five yards, which makes a pass illegal, but the officials didn’t see it and call it at the time. When the replay official in the booth looked to see if the Mississippi QB went past the line of scrimmage, I’m sure it was the shot they showed on TV where the Mississippi lineman was downfield in the foreground and the Mississippi QB was in the background. In other words, the replay official had to see the infraction by the Mississippi lineman, but couldn’t call it, because it had not been called on the field originally. It wasn’t reviewable. Is that a stupid rule or not?

That’s about like a policeman seeing an argument by two men on a sidewalk and trying to settle it, all the while he’s looking down the alley to see one man beating the crap out of another man, but he can’t intervene in the alley crime because it’s not a reviewable offense.

This lineman downfield scenario happened to Bama in 2013 when they played Auburn, and the officials had to have a replay to see if the Auburn QB was past the line of scrimmage. On that occasion two Auburn linemen were down field, and it wasn’t called. That Auburn TD cost Bama the game.

With a game of the significance of the one Saturday night with national championship implications, it does seem like common sense would have prevailed after the 2013 fiasco, and that the SEC would have had an extra official looking for that very thing. Had Mississippi not scored on that play, at the end of the game Bama would have been ahead 38-37 with a little over three minutes to play, and in possession of the ball. Three first downs by Bama and the game would have been over. Mississippi’s defensive line and linebackers were dragging their tails from exhaustion, and if you don’t think Bama could have gotten those three first downs under that circumstance, you don’t know Bama football. Wait a minute you say, Bama only scored 37 points total. When they scored their last TD, with the score tied at 37 each, they would have gone for one extra point instead of two.

The officials did miss a major call when one of the Bama defenders had a Bear hug (pardon the expression) on the Mississippi QB, and the QB sneaked his lower arm and hand out to move his arm a few inches forward to get a ruling of a forward pass, and have the ball brought back to the line of scrimmage. Bama first picked up the ball and was heading for the end zone before the whistle blew, bringing it back. The officials should have called grounding the ball. The only receiver in the vicinity of where the QB threw the ball directly into the turf was a possible chipmunk who might have burrowed a hole under the surface of Bryant-Denny. That penalty would have been five yards from the spot of the grounding, and loss of down. That should have gone Bama’s way, but it didn’t.

Football rules have gotten out of hand for us who liked football the way it was. Teams are tending to have linemen further illegally downfield on a pass, and they should not be allowed beyond the line of scrimmage

Here’s a goofy one. In the Auburn game Saturday on one play all the  Auburn linemen formed a circle around their running back and scrummed down the field for another fifteen yards. Funny thing, we were watching football, and a game of rugby broke out.

Another crack at Mississippi in the national championship playoffs would be nice, minus the Bama turnovers, if Bama could edge into the fourth slot again. Maybe the other teams ahead of Bama will abandon football during the season. Nothing like wishful thinking.

Well folks, we are about to see what Bama is made of. Much like Bear Bryant, you have a master of that at the helm. He doesn’t go by the name captain of the ship, just simply Nick Saban. You are about to see some real coaching.

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