Nick Saban, in his heart of hearts, wants to play slobberknocker football and win 17-10 defensive games. Yet, when he saw that college football was becoming an offense-first sport, Saban moved with the times. He adjusted. Alabama beat Florida 52-46 in the 2020 SEC Championship Game, en route to the national title.
Saban didn't win with the style he preferred. He did win, however.
This is in many ways the challenge for Lincoln Riley at USC, as Oklahoma insider Kegan Reneau explained on The Riley Files.
"I don't think OU fans are crazy for thanking this, but the offensive line play after Jerry Schmidt left to go to Texas A&M after 2017 - that's when the offensive line play started to regress again, where I know we're gonna talk about this: Is the strength conditioning at a point where we need it to be? Lincoln Riley took Bennie Wylie with him to USC.
"There are some very interesting decisions that he (Riley) made, carrying over from Oklahoma to USC, that we've talked about. To me, that that's a problem. He didn't recognize those were problems at Oklahoma. He's going through with the same, running it back with the same crew at USC, besides Josh Henson as his offensive line coach. We'll see, I just think the best coaches are very self-aware and aware of what they need to do at all times to win.
"Lincoln Riley has won a lot his own way, and he hasn't thought a ton about winning in a different way outside of - I'll give him some credit - the 2019 offense after the Kansas State game, which you've heard me talk about; I will gush about it. It's one of the most beautiful run offenses that I've seen in the modern era. It's my favorite Lincoln Riley (offense). Quite frankly, that was the ONE time we've seen Lincoln Riley really understand the problems they're facing and solve them. Outside of that, we really necessarily didn't see a ton of it at Oklahoma."
The Lincoln Log: Inside Lincoln Riley's first year at USC
Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire