Bill O’Brien Abandons the Run Game Against Florida
Alabama fans were not happy with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien’s play-calling on Saturday in "The Swamp". Coach O’Brien was calling plays from the booth rather than from the field, as he has this season.
Many fans on social media speculated this was because he wanted to game plan on his own without Alabama head coach Nick Saban in his ear. That being said, O’Brien will not be able to avoid Saban or the fact that he neglected the running game this week.
After Alabama’s quarterback Bryce Young was sacked twice by the Gators' defense and Alabama wide receivers were dropping passes, it was hard to believe that O’Brien did not take advantage of the running game.
Surprisingly, he withheld former five-star running back Trey Sanders, who is a Florida native, from seeing any playing time. In fact, a TV camera even caught Sanders on the sideline looking disappointed.
"We’ve had some really good backs in the past that didn’t play in games that were third guys because the other two guys were rolling and playing good. There was no plan to play him or not to play him, it’s just the way the game worked out," said coach Saban on Sanders.
After Brian Robinson went down with an injury, O'Brien seemed to shy away from running the ball. Robinson had a successful day before and after tweaking his ribs, but Jase McClellan struggled to produce on the ground, netting only 17 yards on 9 carries.
Robinson ended the game with 15 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown, averaging over 5 yards per rush. McClellan was able to contribute much more through the air, picking up 4 receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown.
By moving away from the run, coach O’Brien was forcing throws with Bryce Young which made it easy for Florida’s defense to target Young and his wide receivers.
On the contrary, head coach of Florida, Dan Mullen, trusted his run game. Florida had 225 yards rushing and four touchdowns. In creating the balance between running and passing, the Gators almost came back for the win.
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