Guest Column: Revenge theory
Alabama has a history with revenge games, but Texas A&M stands apart
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 23:09
The signs hung on the wall all offseason. In one frame was Julio Jones celebrating a touchdown and a scoreboard that read 24-0. In the other, Cam Newton smiling ear to ear, and a scoreboard that now read 28-27.
Two words connected the two frames and became the theme of the 2011 offseason for Alabama football: Never Again.
Alabama responded to that game with a 42-14 beatdown the next year. And Nick Saban has responded similarly in almost every “revenge” game he has played in the SEC.
Since taking over at LSU in 2000, Saban is 15-2 in re-match games after losses, according to The Dallas Morning News. One of the instances came against the Gators, then coached by Steve Spurrier in 2000 and 2001. The other was to LSU in 2010 and 2011. Alabama, of course, got revenge on LSU in the national championship game in 2011.
This week, Alabama will have another chance for revenge, this time at the hands of Texas A&M. The Aggies stunned the Crimson Tide 29-24 in Bryant-Denny Stadium last year, the only loss of the year for Alabama.
“The big thing for me is preparation,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “This year’s team has a lot to prove based on their own identity, what they want to try to accomplish and what they want to try to do. That’s really the focus for me and our team, is the identity that we’re trying to create, the way we’re trying to play. “
Unlike “Never Again,” there are not signs hanging in the locker rooms this year, or any sort of motivational tool. The game was replayed in the weight room one week, but so was every other game from last season.
Senior right guard Anthony Steen said there already is an extra bit of motivation just from the loss itself.
“It’s just one of those things where it’s in the back of your head that you lost last year,” Steen said. “So you want to try that much harder to make sure you win this year.”
Junior safety HaHa Clinton-Dix downplayed the idea of revenge. He stuck with Saban’s theme of trying to create a new identity for this year’s team and not worry about
“To me, it’s not a revenge thing because if we wanted to get revenge, we’d have to play that same team last year with the same team we had last year,” he said. “If you lose a fight with someone, you don’t get revenge from fighting someone else. I think it’s just a new team this year. We’re a new team. It’s no revenge. Just going out there and playing Texas A&M.”
The team said they will watch some of last year’s film, but that there isn’t much to gain, because teams won’t necessarily do all of the same things from year to year.
Alabama has a tough task ahead of itself, but it also has the coach with a proven track record when seeking revenge.
“We have a lot to prove, going on the road to play a good team,” Saban said. “From a strategic standpoint, I think that any time you play someone you learn a little bit about what they did against you, you learn about what you did against them and then you see some of the things that they may do to try to take advantage of it.”
Marc Torrence is a senior journalism major at the University of Alabama and sports editor for The Crimson White