Running 82 Plays: “He wasn’t freaked out on time.”

Blake Sims

These are some of center Ryan Kelly’s comments on Alabama’s no-huddle offense:

“It’s just, it takes 10 second pressure off of what we’re doing in the huddle, so we can get to the line and if we need to make audible or adjustments we can, without being time crunched to three, two one seconds left,” Kelly said. “It just gives the quarterback more time. Obviously Blake came into that game, first career start, so I think the no huddle actually helped him out. He wasn’t freaked out on time.”

I think the switch to the no huddle in the second quarter was a good call by Nick Saban.  Apparently, the switch calmed Sims down and allowed him to run the offense.

On the other hand, I think entirely too much is being made out of Alabama being able to go fast.  Folks are acting like running the no huddle against West Virginia was the first time for the Tide to do so and that’s just not true.  Alabama has run some version of the hurry up for most (if not all) of Saban’s tenure at Bama.  Early on, the change of pace was utilized more to catch defenses off guard and to energize the Tide offense.  Lately, it has been used more, it seems, to lock in defensive personnel groupings.

The article also notes that Alabama ran 82 offensive plays against the Mountaineers:

Still, Alabama ran 82 offensive plays after averaging 63.5 a game in 2013. The Tide’s first touchdown drive (14 play, 95 yards) averaged 30 seconds per play on the game clock. But in the no-huddle touchdown march in the third quarter (six plays, 70 yards) it took just 18 seconds per play.

That’s a lot of plays.  For some perspective, note that the Bama offense did not run that many plays at all in 2013 (80 was tops against Kentucky) and, in fact, has not run that many since posting 82 against Western Kentucky in 2008.  That year, the Tide offense also ran 80 against Clemson.

What’s the significance of that?  I’m not totally sure, but I think it supports why Saban was so effusive in his praise of Lane Kiffin.  I also think it indicates that Sims was indeed in control of the offense.