Alabama Crimson Tide: Nick Saban Makes Crucial Mistake

By Tim Letcher
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS

Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, is undoubtedly one of the best coaches in college football. After all, he has won four BCS National Championships, three with Alabama and one with the LSU Tigers.

However, Saban made a big mistake in Saturday’s game against Alabama’s arch rivals, the Auburn Tigers. With one second left in regulation, Saban called on a walk-on freshman, Adam Griffith, to try a 57-yard field goal that would have won the game for the Tide. However, what actually happened has likely cost Alabama the chance for a three-peat.

Griffith struck the ball well, and the kick was on line, but it was short, and was caught in the back of the end zone by Auburn’s Chris Davis, who returned the missed kick (officially) 100 yards for a touchdown. And that play will live in the lore of the Iron Bowl as long as these two schools continue to play football against each other.

Saban has been known as a master technician, and has certainly made the right call almost every time in his career. However, he got burned on this one. Saban did not have faith in his regular kicker, Cade Foster, because Foster had already missed two field goals in the game and had a third one blocked.

Instead, Saban opted to go with Griffith, who had attempted only two field goals in his career, and had made only one (a 20-yarder). It turned out to be a tragic mistake.

Saban would have been better served by calling a pass play, putting the ball in the hands of senior quarterback A.J. McCarron, who could have thrown the ball to the end zone, hoping that Amari Cooper or Kevin Norwood could make a play.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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