Beware The Tide: Why Rex Ryan Should Pray At The Altar Of Saban

Justin breaks down what we learned about defensive football in the National Championship Game

Enough. Enough whining from everyone associated with Oklahoma State about how they should have been in the BCS Championship game, not because they deserved to be in the Championship game, but because it would have been more entertaining. Sure, and watching the Broncos play the Packers in the Super Bowl would be the most watched game in the history of the NFL and/or the ugliest blow out ever put on a green field.

When did things reach their most insane in the aftermath of last nights game? When the unanimous whine from the OK State crew and others trickled onto the radio waves today, where people were proclaiming that Oklahoma State would have beat LSU. By 40. Really? OK. Theoretically Oregon could have beaten LSU if we are to just take the game as LSU’s lack of execution. That’s an open ended theory/excuse that falls on deaf ears for anyone who hasn’t been smashing pint glasses over their head for the past 36 hours. Which is in many ways similar to my one trip to New Orleans, but that’s between me, god, and the sheriff. Even now, as I am writing this, Mike Wilbon is proclaiming that CAM NEWTON WOULD HAVE BEAT LSU!!! OR ALABAMA!!!!

So what happened to the war painted Tigers? Fear. You want to see fear in the NFL? Watch the game tape from when the Jets played the Ravens this year. Mark Sanchez had the same fear Jordan Jefferson had last night. Blind side hits from behind, receivers getting blasted over the middle, fumbles, delays in handoffs, and general skittishness all made more evident by 10 on field cameras and the screaming, half crazy crowd of drunks, freaks and fools in the stands.

Simply put, the front 7 of Alabama may be some of the scariest set of college football players to ever step foot on the field. But it’s not fear of simply getting picked off or losing a fumble that turned the voodoo daddies into porcelain dolls, it’s the combination of experience, retribution and pure rage. (There are 8 seniors on defense). Translation? Ray Lewis. Imagine 4 Ray Lewis clones (actually bigger and faster as the average height of the linebacking core is 6’4 and around 265lbs) lining up in a 3-4, waiting on every play, knowing every gap to shoot, and not just getting to your quarterback or running back, but exactly how to line him up and inflict the most damage. Every time someone from LSU tried to go down the field on a toss or a read option, there were not 3, but usually 4 linebackers waiting to break them in half.

For all the magic around the LSU Tigers, the honey badger, the free for all defense that logistically relies on mostly it’s edge rushers and secondary to lock down receivers, there was too much reliance on their ability to get turnovers, opponent plays for a loss, and kicking domination. Alabama wiped the floor with LSU on special teams, case in point being the honey badger’s attempt at a kickoff return that got him knocked back about 15 yards and Marquis Maze running his first attempt back about 42 yards before pulling up lame with a hamstring injury. Oh yes, and Maze, the number one receiver for Alabama, DIDN’T EVEN COME BACK TO PLAY IN THE GAME.

What no one will state, because it is theoretically impossible, is that every defensive coaches ultimate desire is to play in base packages for an entire game. That is, a 3-4 base, a nickel and a dime. If you had an All Madden defensive squad, there would be no need to switch from base defenses. You make your adjustments pre snap, and shut the play down before it even starts, and if it does start, don’t let it finish. Alabama didn’t blitz, they didn’t come overloaded to one side, and they didn’t get into exotic personnel packages. Perfection needs no decoration.

In the era of teams averaging 45 points a game, Alabama gave up 9 touchdowns in 13 games. They averaged 8.2 points per game allowed, and didn’t let the Tigers cross the 50 yard line until 8 minutes left in the game. Mind you, if AJ McCarron didn’t get sacked on a third down play, the Tigers might not have crossed the 50 yard line at all. THE LSU TIGERS – who wiped the floor with almost all competition between the SEC, the Pac 12, and the ACC, couldn’t score a point the entire game. Even if they had Sebastian Janikowski lining up kicks, they wouldn’t have even been close. Roll tide. Oh yes, and Michigan, who happens to play Alabama in the season opener next year, should start looking for another backup QB. Denard doesn’t stand a chance.

PS – If the Jets don’t draft Courtney Upshaw I’m giving up on them for good.