Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The New Crimson Tide

My Auburn Tiger family has reminded me daily since Saturday that I should not be too excited about Alabama's victory over Western Carolina. True, the Catamounts did not offer the stiff competition that the Tide will encounter this week against Vanderbilt, or in the weeks that follow, but let's not be so quick to cast a shadow over the performance. I have seen the Western Carolina's, Lousiana Tech's, and other smaller schools eat Alabama's lunch in the past.

While it remains to be seen what Alabama's offense will be able to do againt a tougher defense, I think that we saw enough to realize that Saban has already made significant improvements over past years' offense. Past teams were plagued by penalties and indecisive play calling that led to multiple instances where timeouts had to be called to avoid delay of game penalties. In last year's game against Arkansas, Alabama was forced to call a timeout right after a television timeout. Good coaches just do not put their team in those positions.

The quarterbacks threw passes to twelve different receivers, including several passes to tightends, and everybody caught the ball. Alabama's running game has always been a good one, and there is no reason to believe that this year's will not be among the best. Grant's 47-yard run on Alabama's first play from scrimmage reminded me of the Bobby Humphrey and Siran Stacey days of Tide football.

Alabama's defense is going to be the questionable side of the ball this season. Saban's reputation as a defensive specialist and his passion for teaching athletes should - over time - restore the stingy defense reputation that Alabama once had. Western Carolina efforts on Saturday were enough to make us realize that the defense needs some work.

Despite this, you can see Saban's marks being made in the defense. The guys hustled to the ball carrier, and the tackling skills looked much improved. Again, we were spared of the crazy penalties that we have become accustomed to seeing week in and week out.

Hat's off to Western Carolina for playing with a lot of heart and for playing four quarters of football. I always appreciate good sportmanship and would like to recognize Western Carolina's quarterback, Todd Spitzer, for his remarks after the game.

"It's a great atmosphere to play in," Western Carolina quarterback
Todd Spitzer said. "They've got loyal fans that care about this
program. It's definitely a wonderful experience, and I'll hold it
with me for the rest of my career."

5 comments :

BLAZER PROPHET said...

All good points. Good coaches prepare better, have better disciplined players and are not indecisive.

How many games do you project for Alabama to win?

431cruiser said...

To be honest, I am only expecting about 7 wins this season, and that would require them beatingthe ones that they are expected to beat, and picking up one from one of the big SEC powers such as Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, or Georgia. They have to beat one of these, which will be difficult.

In two to three seasons, and without another coaching change, I will expect them to win 10+. The players will have bought into the new system and will have confidence in it, the recruiting efforts should be paying off, and there should be some depth.

So it is one game at a time until then. But the future looks bright.

Are you watching Louisville and Mid-Tennessee tonight? 70+ points at the half....more like a basketball game.

BLAZER PROPHET said...

My wife's twins went off to college this year so I lost cable. Drats! But I did listen to OSU get their teeth kicked in by Cincy.

As to the Tide, I think they will beat one of the teams you mention. Actually, only LSU would seem unbeatable to them.

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