BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE
The Greenville Standard
Alabama finished at 14-2 overall and 7-1 in the SEC for the 2014 football season.
Alabama defeated Missouri 42-13 in the SEC Championship Game to win the SEC on December 6.
Alabama played in the College Playoff in the first Year. The second game was vs Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, losing 42-35. Alabama finished fourth in both polls.
Coach Nick Saban was entering his eigth season as head coach. This was Lane Kiffin’s first season as offensive coordinator. He was a former Tennessee and USC head coach.
Kirby Smart had eight years as the defensive coordinator. Alabama ran a west coast pro-style offense and a 3-4 base defense.
At fall camp, freshman Cam Robinson won the left tackle job. Blake Sims was named the starting quarterback beating out FSU grad transfer Jake Coker signed as athlete. Sims played running back as a freshman and converted to quarterback as a sophomore.
26 players were on the 12 watch lists for the Bednarik, Blitenkoff, Naguriski, Butkus, Walter Camp, Lombardi, Mackey, Maxwell, Outland, Rimington, Thorpe and Doak Walker awards.
New coaches hired in 2014 were Lane Kiffin who replaced Nussmeier as offensive coordinator.
Defensive line coach Chris Rumph left to Coach defensive line at Florida, Bo Davis was rehired. He coached at Alabama from 2007-2010. Kevin Steele was promoted to inside linebacker coach replacing defensive back coach Greg Brown who was hired as safeties coach At Louisville.
The 2014 recruiting class was ranked number one by Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com.
Five players declared early for the NFL draft: Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Adrian Hubbard, Cyrus Kounandjio, Jeoffery Pagan, and Vinnie Sunseri.
Lost offensive starters from 2013 included AJ McCarron, Kevin Norwood and Anthony Steen.
Lost defensive starters included Deion Belue, CJ Mosley and Ed Stinson.
Returning on offense were WR Amari Cooper, WR Christion Jones, C Ryan Kelly, G Arie Kouandjio, T Austin Shepherd, TE Brian Vogler, and RB TJ Yeldon.
Returning on defense were LB Trey DePriest. S Landon Collins. DT A’Shawn Robinson, DT Brandon Ivory, and DB Jerrick Williams.
The Tide began the season on August 30 against West Virginia in Atlanta and won 33-23. They next played Florida Atlantic on September 6 and won in a route 41-0.
On September 13, Alabama faced Southern Mississippi at home and beat them 52-12. Florida was next on September 20 at Bryant Denny. Alabama was victorious winning 42-21.
The Tide stumbled against Ole Miss in Oxford on October 4 losing 23-17. On October 11, Arkansas gave Alabama a scare but lost 14-13 in Fayetteville.
The Tide rolled over Texas A&M on October 18 winning 59-0 at home. They then faced Tennessee on October 25 and won 34-20.
On October 8, Alabama won in overtime against LSU in Baton Rouge, then on October 15 they beat Mississippi State at home 25-20.
Western Carolina came to Tuscaloosa on October 22 and lost 48-14. The Tide then beat Auburn in a high scoring game at home 55-44.
At the SEC Championship in Atlanta, Alabama dominated Missouri 42-13. They then lost to Ohio State 42-35 at the Sugar Bowl in a college playoff semi-final.
Post Season Honors: Team MVP Amari Cooper; Team Captains Landon Collins, Amari Cooper, Jalsten Fowler, and Blake Sims; Amari Cooper Bilitenkopf Winner and SEC Offensive Player.
AP All-SEC First Team: Cooper(C), Collins(C), Arie Kouandjio, Jonathan Allen, Reggie Ragland, JK Scott(C), Trey DePriest Coaches First Team. All-America: Cooper and Collins (C). Scott Sporting News, Arie Kouandjio.
Next week 2015.