FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit believes Alabama should go with an aggressive plan Monday when the Tide faces Notre Dame and elusive quarterback Everett Golson in the BCS National Championship Game.
Speaking at a news conference this morning, he believes the Crimson Tide learned something after falling 29-24 to Texas A&M and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel on Nov. 10.
“I think they’re coming after Golson, if I’m Alabama,” Kirk Herbstreit, who will call the game alongside Brent Musberger for ESPN. “I think one thing they probably learned from playing
against Johnny Manziel is that you have to come after an athletic quarterback. A lot of times that brought three or four and had players stay back. I would guess they’re going to be pretty aggressive.”
Herbstreit had high praise to offer Notre Dame’s defense, also.
“their defense is a rare group of players,” Herbstreit said. “It’s the intangibles, the chemistry, the way they seem to love one another. Those are things that don’t show up on film, but it’s going to have to show up on Monday night.
“The defense doesn’t just have to play well, they really have to want it for one another.”
Pleasant thoughts aside, Herbstreit sees one potential weakness for the Irish that could cost them dearly against the Tide.
“Can Notre Dame’s front seven stay down? Because if Notre Dame has to bring that safety down, they’re in big trouble,” Herbstreit said. “That’s when AJ McCarron can go down the field.”
Herbstreit recognizes that such a move would be one of several risks both teams will take as the game wears on.
“It really just depends on the flow of the game,” he said. “It depends on how things are dictated on each offense. The line of scrimmage is ultimately going to affect which defense has to all-of-a-sudden make that adjustment.”
With those thoughts on the table, Herbstreit still struggles to find a clear-cut winner.
“It’s kind of a wash, but I might give Alabama a bit of an edge just because of how consistent they’ve been inside the 20-yard line and also because of the way they can return punts and kickoffs,” he said.
Contributed by Brett Hudson
Some video shot by Hudson of Herbstreit speaking to reporters today: