In the 2016 College Football Playoffs, the Washington Huskies lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide, although it wasn’t due to Pete Kwiatkowski’s defensive scheme.
Steve Sarkisian and Nick Saban talked about being familiar with each program in their respective press conferences on Monday. Jalen Milroe, the starting quarterback for Alabama, was lured to Tuscaloosa by Steve Sarkisian, who worked for Saban there.
The tight victory Alabama had in Austin the year before makes no difference to Alabama’s confidence going into the same Saturday night, according to Saban, who explained that while previous games offer a technical history that is useful, psychologically they are not.
It’s intriguing from a technological perspective. There is that intriguing game from 2016, but most of the attention is on Sarkisian’s offensive mentality battling against Saban’s defensive. Can anything be learned from a playoff game that Bama won 24-7 seven years ago? Could be.
Some aspects of that game were comparable to the one we will play next. A skilled and seasoned defense that includes both strong defensive linemen and defensive backs is available to PK. A youthful, athletic, but untested dual-threat quarterback is starting for Alabama in the meantime. Jalen Hurts was the victim in 2016, and Milroe will be in 2023.
Three second-round picks were included in just the secondary of PK’s 2016 squad in the 2017 NFL Draft. Budda Baker, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, was one of their picks. In the secondary were undrafted free agent JoJo McIntosh and 2019 second-round draft pick Taylor Rapp. Washington also had two excellent inside defensive linemen.
Vita Vea was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, and Elijah Qualls in the sixth round in 2017. With Keishawn Bierria selected in the sixth round in 2018, Ben Burr-Kirven in the fifth round in 2019, and Azeem Victor in the sixth round in 2018, the linebacking group wasn’t exactly lacking either. First-team All-Pac 12 selection Victor missed the season’s last month due to a broken leg in 2016.
Although some of the most skilled players, such as Anthony Hill, Derek Williams, and Malik Muhammad, are still fairly young, I’d be willing to guess that Texas’ current two-deep contains a similar amount of draft picks.
There is no doubt that Texas possesses size, talent, depth, and experience, at least on par with the Washington club from 2016.