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Alabama Gov. on Saban’s late-game play calling: ‘I would… have run the ball’

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley AP

Now that previously top-ranked Alabama has fallen to Texas A&M and out of the BCS championship picture — barring losses from two of the three undefeated teams ahead in the BCS standings, of course — there’s only one thing left to do: dissect every little thing that went wrong.

Nick Saban‘s play calling near the A&M goal line in the final minutes of the game has been getting the most criticism. Positioned at the 6-yard line, Alabama attempted three passes to one run, the final pass being intercepted and all but officially sealing the 29-24 loss. A touchdown would have given the Tide the lead with under two minutes to play.

Many Alabama fans “expressed” on the Paul Finebaum Show this week that Saban should have elected to run the ball more in that series of downs. When asked this week, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley agreed.

I would actually have run the ball for four straight times,” Bentley said.

The Tide had a decent ground game going against the Aggies, but Alabama was also playing from behind the entire time.

Not that Bentley probably cares too much about Saban’s play calling — he was asked a question and he answered it — but it’s worth noting that the Aggies were giving up nearly 250 passing yards a game and A.J. McCarron had already thrown for over 300 yards.

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44 Responses to “Alabama Gov. on Saban’s late-game play calling: ‘I would… have run the ball’”
  1. southernpatriots says: Nov 14, 2012 6:06 PM

    Couldn’t Gov. Bentley have responded to the question something like, “I know Coach Saban is one the best college football coaches and I trust his judgment. I am not going to second guess him because he knows much more about football and his team than I do.” That answer would have been respected by any reporter (except maybe the dung beetle Finebaum).

    All coaches face this second guessing from their fan base after a disappointing loss. Miles experienced it from his fan base after the BCS CG and after some questionable calls in the Alabama game. I am not an apologist for Saban, but I know he calls the best plays he thought at the time. Alabama came out against the Aggies somewhat flat after such an emotional and smash mouth game against LSU the previous week. The Aggie QB is REALLY good. He took advantage of what Alabama gave him, and the A&M defense rose to the occasion as well.

    I am sure glad that Gov. Jindal did not interject his opinion after LSU’s loss to Alabama. Jindal is a graduate and alum of LSU, but I am glad he kept quiet or we’d be talking about him wagging his tongue and second-guessing Miles, instead of Bentley second-guessing Saban.

    It is usually best when politicians stay out of sports.

  2. 11inthebox says: Nov 14, 2012 6:21 PM

    Nick Saban is far and away the best coach in college football.

    It’s people like Governor Bentley who make it easy for the masses to make wide-sweeping negative generalizations about the state of Alabama.

  3. rolltide510 says: Nov 14, 2012 6:22 PM

    I feel the previous two commentators are missing the larger point that Alabama should have run the ball in that situation.

  4. aglawman says: Nov 14, 2012 6:28 PM

    Gig’ Em, Aggies!!! Get used to it, SEC!!!

  5. jc4jesus2002 says: Nov 14, 2012 6:45 PM

    WOW! Since when does a Defensive Minded Head Coach even call plays?????? I agree, they should have run the ball, but that’s on the OC

  6. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Nov 14, 2012 6:56 PM

    Oh lord, you’ll have beaten one out of three teams in the top ten this year, and you’re talking smack already.
    Not making any excused for Bama here, lord knows I can’t stand them, but TAMU played Bama at the right time, the week after they played LSU.
    Considered yourself lucky that they spotted you 20-0 points before they decided to start playing and finally woke up from their sleep.
    TAMU was up twenty points, against a tired and beat up Bama team, and your were six yours from being 6-3 and 0-3 against the top SEC teams.
    So just be gracious that y’all won, because it could have easily been another AJ MacCarron come from behind victory two weeks in a row.
    Saban and his staffs never forget and they might not show it but believe me when I say this, he’s ready for you next year.

  7. edwardst35 says: Nov 14, 2012 7:18 PM

    The next time Alabama is in a similar situation… the Governor….hand him the ball….and tell him to score the TD.

  8. rolltide510 says: Nov 14, 2012 7:21 PM

    I think with four tries running behind the left side of the line, Governor Bentley had a decent chance of scoring. If nothing else, the sudden substitution of an elected official would probably provide a good decoy for play action.

  9. pinchegringo12 says: Nov 14, 2012 7:35 PM

    Asian, surely you are not saying alabama didn’t have the depth or talent and was tired? And alabama being beat up, c’mon, the Ags just played lsu and miss state prior two weeks….with no byes this season…Ags have as much excuse to be beat up. Alabama didn’t lose the game, the Ags punched them in the mouth and won it….and will be better next year.

    Fwiw-saban should have ran it and does on his sword.

  10. cometkazie says: Nov 14, 2012 8:35 PM

    SP: Jindal did not attend LSU that I know of. He went to BR High, Brown, and Oxford and has degrees from the latter two.

    His wife has degrees from Tulane. She is a Greenie Weenie. The Wiki info on her is incorrect. Her dad started work with the company I was with in 1968 before being married and, of course, before her birth. She is a very nice young lady and smarter than her husband.

    IMHO, Saban is a much better coach than Jindal is a governor 😉

    And the OC would be calling the offensive plays.

  11. gopokes0714 says: Nov 14, 2012 9:06 PM

    Can we not get a story on how Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Florida, Auburn & Kentucky all play Division II schools this weekend?

    That is ridiculous! It is one thing to warm up your season playing a division II school, but this late in the season? It is padding stats, and padding your record.

  12. neauxgeaux44 says: Nov 14, 2012 9:13 PM

    No one cares about the gump state….

  13. namriverrat69 says: Nov 14, 2012 9:22 PM

    As much as the Alabamaites love feel their team should be considered for a national championship should Oregon, Notre Dame and Kansas State fall, they should not be in any consideration for a national title.

    No team who loses at home should be in consideration for the title. At home… You can’t lose at home and be considered great.

  14. 6stn says: Nov 14, 2012 9:55 PM

    Gov’s full of bullconnor.

  15. 11inthebox says: Nov 14, 2012 10:14 PM

    @ rolltide510 who says:
    I feel the previous two commentators are missing the larger point that Alabama should have run the ball in that situation.
    So the governor of a state takes time to publicly second guess the best coach in the country—a guy who is more credible and sincere than most elected officials. But that’s NOT the larger point here? Whether or not Alabama ran the ball is the LARGER point?

    Yeah, no reason to ridicule you.

  16. panthrobro says: Nov 15, 2012 1:34 AM

    I agree with the Governor. I was stunned they didn’t run it. I’m not an Alabama fan for the record. Their was still like 4 minutes left in the game when Alabama was on the 6. I figured they’d run it to take time off the clock and Lacy was averaging like 6 yards a carry. Then go for 2 to possibly give Alabama a 3 point lead with whatever time was left. Alabama still had a couple time outs too. Its water under the bridge and I’m happy for A&M though. Congrats A&M you earned it! But I was shaking my head that they didn’t just run it down their throat 4 straight times for 6 measly yards.

  17. txnative61 says: Nov 15, 2012 1:40 AM

    A quote in honor of the late Darrel Royal: “When you pass the ball, three things can happen and two of them are bad.”

  18. kozbee says: Nov 15, 2012 2:08 AM

    Gov. Bentley i believe your calls on the plays to be sound and true that Saban should of ran the ball more,by the way is there any chance i can get a cut on my taxes dear Gov.

  19. monsterright says: Nov 15, 2012 5:34 AM

    Saban COULD get Bentley’s job. Bentley could NEVER get Sabans.

  20. southernpatriots says: Nov 15, 2012 6:46 AM

    CK: A mental blip…it was Jindal’s parents who attended and were alums of LSU. He was born there and grew up there but received a Rhodes scholarship and attended Oxford, Brown, etc.

    Not a revelation on his wife exceeding his intelligence. If the truth be known, most of us men (if we are honest) would admit the same of our wives. (I would!)

    This Isaac is the storm that keeps giving misery, so much like Katrina. We may even have to move, and moving is not something I even can get my mind around at this time. Thoughts and prayers are appreciated for all these folks (and ourselves…ha.)

  21. 1historian says: Nov 15, 2012 6:49 AM

    mantra for today:

    it’s only a game

  22. jmb795 says: Nov 15, 2012 6:53 AM

    How soon we forget McCarron’s under thrown pass in that drive.

  23. norcalirish says: Nov 15, 2012 6:59 AM

    Like, omg, alabama had a tough game last week and they were TIRED guyysss.

    Get over it.

    If you’re the best, win—don’t make excuses.

    Enjoy the cupcakes this week sec.

  24. texasbornlsufan says: Nov 15, 2012 8:22 AM


    I really like to read how all these supposedly Sunday morning coaches would have called it different. There is only two choices to make run or pass! If you all are that great of decision makers why arn’t you the coach of Alabama. Hell why don’t you just go FIRE his ass!

    You people are ridiculous! I thought Tiger fans were crazy but you all take the lead in that department.

    If you watch the play it was a will thought out pick but both the A&M DB’s switched and made a great play! Wake up and give them there do.

  25. infrno says: Nov 15, 2012 8:56 AM

    I have to agree with SP as I get sick and tired of everyone here second guessing just about everything Miles does. The coaches call the plays they believe will give them the best chance of winning. Everyone piled on to Les after the BCS game, then we start the season with Mett and can see right away why he did what he did – it was what worked the first time and was then the best chance we had of winning. Had Miles taken Jefferson out and put either of the other QBs in, it would have been a lot worse because you can be absolutely guaranteed they would have turned the ball over and probably more than once.

    The last game 2 weeks ago Miles went back to the The Hat (I’ve missed that guy) and while those plays neither worked nor were even necessary, they didn’t cost us the game. Given how our offensive line has been shaky all year and how vanilla Zack had been, he wasn’t sure we could line up with Alabama and take it straight to them. We did, though, and would have come away with a win that virtually NO ONE expected had it not been for Chavis changing the damned defense on the last drive.

    At any rate, it appears not even the Great Saban is above having his choices picked apart. It’s pointless, though, as both of these coaches are among the winningest in the game, and aren’t going to change their coaching styles.

  26. southernpatriots says: Nov 15, 2012 9:03 AM


    Great post. Wish I had more than 1 thumbs up to give, hope many others will as well.

    The biggest problems this successful coaches (Saban, Miles, etc.) could do is to change their coaching styles. When Chavis did it, the only thing that change did is cost LSU the game.

    I did not think the Alabama fans would pick Saban apart as they are doing on Finebaum’s program and others.

  27. getsome99 says: Nov 15, 2012 9:04 AM

    Nick Saban got out coached the entire game. More credit needs to go to aTm and the coaching job Summlin did.

    SEC may end up regretting bringing in the 7th best team from the Big 12.

  28. jad36022 says: Nov 15, 2012 11:43 AM

    Great, Governor Bentley, now that you’ve told us what you would heve done during the game, please tell us what you’re going to do to fix our failing public school system. What are you going to do to fix the grade changing by teachers in the Montgomery Public School system, so they can make ayp? How are you going to make our state be better than only Mississippi? I hate being #49!

  29. OleBamaDude says: Nov 15, 2012 11:56 AM

    Bentley should be spending all of his time with his aides trying to piece together a plan for an insurance exchange so Alabamians can finally get coverage. Instead he is fielding questions at press conferences. Pitiful!

  30. tlmoon2112 says: Nov 15, 2012 12:28 PM

    I dont care what Saban SHOULD have done, Im just glad Alabama lost. Manziel for Heisman.

  31. myxpyxl says: Nov 15, 2012 12:37 PM

    At A&M we have a student cheer for folks like the governor. It goes like this:


    Those that can’t, teach. Those that can’t teach run for office.

  32. mrslay1 says: Nov 15, 2012 12:56 PM

    Political people should stay in their own arena. Like OBUTTHEAD! Just keep your mouth shut. And hey GOV. if you don’t like Saban, we will take him!!!

  33. tide4life says: Nov 15, 2012 1:40 PM

    This is the only post I will waste on this bulls**t thread.

  34. florida727 says: Nov 15, 2012 1:49 PM

    I’m firmly in the camp of those wishing politicians would shut up when asked about things they know nothing about. Want to express your thoughts like a lot of fans do? Login to CFT and post your thoughts like the rest of us. Just because you think you have a forum to speak from, learn what that forum is supposed to be used for. I’m a Florida fan, not an Alabama fan, but I say if you want to 2nd guess Nick, do so at your own peril. The guy’s forgotten more about football than you’ll ever know Governor. Translated, that means just shut up. Asked about your state’s budget or healthcare issues, you’ll dance around those questions and not even come close to a definitive answer. Try the same when asked about football.

  35. ladyrazorback says: Nov 15, 2012 2:11 PM

    Alabama Governor should handle what goes on in the State of Alabama and leave football to the best coach in the land….I believe Saban did what he thought was best for his team, if you want to blame someone blame the tide qb, for holding the ball trying to make plays instead of running the ball himself, when your receivers are covered up, then run the ball…but all he did was stand around in the pocket. I believe Alabama is the best team in football, and the Aggies were just lucky, they may look good and think they are good, but they will find out any team can be beat, Texas teams just think they are better than anyone else…If they are so great then what happen with Florida and LSU, I think they came up short on both of them…

  36. tides1 says: Nov 15, 2012 2:13 PM

    It so happens I agree with the Gov. BUT , I also think Coach Saban is the best thing thats happened to Bama football since Bear Bryant. He has given a face and meaning to Bama football it had in its glory days.The Gov. should keep his opions to himself….its kinda like the commercial of having your Dr. do your job and you do his. I believe Saban is a helluva lots better coach than he is a Gov. You want a comparison, theres you one Gov ! He’s done more for Bama than you have.

  37. taintedlombardis says: Nov 15, 2012 3:01 PM

    Who gives a rat’s ass about the state of Alabama anyway? They only thing they have ever produced are two of the most corrupt college football programs this country has ever seen. Oh, and obesity, they produce lots of that.

  38. abrellbama says: Nov 15, 2012 4:41 PM

    Coach Nussmeier called the plays but I would have run it in too. Even Saban was disappointed that it was a run play but it is too late now.

  39. vamsalmar1967 says: Nov 15, 2012 8:41 PM

    @ taintedlombardis. Apparently you aren’t very bright yourself, since you seem to be into stereotyping. Surprise, but not everyone in Alabama is fat, stupid or votes Republican — just as not everyone in your state is intelligent. You just proved that!

    Personally, as a Bama fan and alumnus, I couldn’t care less what the governor thinks. Nick Saban is a great coach; we’ve lost games before, and we’ll lose them again. It’s very hard to go undefeated in the SEC.

  40. txnative61 says: Nov 16, 2012 1:38 AM

    Bama and Saban didn’t lose because of that series, the Aggies took it by coming out and smacking them in the mouth for 20 unanswered points in the first quarter. Tide unused to playing catchup, and the passing game has never been their forte. Anyone can second guess playcalling, but on that day, Sumlin and the Aggies had the best game plan, an assist from LSU, and some luck to beat a better team. It happens! And frankly its what makes College Football more interesting than the NFL.

  41. txnative61 says: Nov 16, 2012 2:10 AM

    Of note as well should be Iowa State’s victory over Oklahoma State last year to put Alabama in the Championship game. Few would suggest them to be the better team on any other day. There is some justice in this result.

  42. rickd785 says: Nov 16, 2012 1:48 PM

    Doesn’t Bentley have enough to do with the Klan meetings and all ?

  43. Deb says: Nov 18, 2012 10:19 PM

    @cometkazie …

    Have been offline most of the week, but your post was priceless!!

  44. vamsalmar1967 says: Nov 19, 2012 12:12 AM

    A week makes a difference, doesn’t it? LOL

    The “new” numbers one and two (Kansas State and Oregon) bit the dust, and now who can once again control their own destiny and make it back into the championship game???


    Okay, it won’t be easy, but it CAN happen! lol

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