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Nine months after my last post, almost exactly two years after my first post, and the week of one of the absolute best things about college and Alabama football seems like a pretty good time to try out the internets again. So here I am.
In way of a brief explanation, as I shared with you about this time last year, my last official gig ended and I went out on my own. Things are going relatively well on that front but running a business is incredibly time consuming. Also, last winter I became a dad again (for the third time) and lack of sleep coupled with increased duties with the other two take up a lot more time. Finally, Alabama had a pretty good year last year and my level of contentment with “the process” allowed me to focus on other outlets. I do this because I enjoy it and it fills a creative need but lately when the desire to write struck there seemed to be something else that “needed” to be done. I realize my tiny voice is one that is easily lost in the din but I do appreciate all the inquiries into my whereabouts. Thanks to you all.
So, I understand there is a game this weekend. What’s going on with that?
- Tennessee wants to wear orange. While Saban tends to say things like jersey color don’t matter – and they don’t – I’m not at all surprised that the request was denied. Of course the Vols are going to say we’re doing the fans a disservice, but the fact remains that a.) Kiffin raided the coaching staff, b.) said coach has been lying to recruits, and c.) this is still Tennessee. So screw UT. Why extend to them any courtesy at all other than letting them have a locker room? They wouldn’t, and haven’t done the same for Alabama. I understand from off-the-record comments that Saban is not a fan of the Volunteers and I believe that the way Alabama has been prepared to play, and has executed against UT in his tenure lends that some credence so it makes sense that UT was not granted the concession. I say no quarter asked or given in this rivalry. They’ll probably end up in those gaudy orange pants anyway. Orange sucks, people! (Update: As usual, the guys at Bama Sports Report put it into perspective)
- McElroy Struggling. G-Mac has, without a doubt, had two bad outings (against competent defenses) after some pretty good outings (against less than stellar defenses). I’m not ready to bench him though. I’m not even ready to verbally abuse him by comparing him to other, less-than-good quarterbacks, like another Alabama blog writer who tends to overuse the word “nevertheless” and speaks of the team in the first-person. I don’t think McElroy was quite as good as the early season success showed, nor do I think he is as bad as his last outings would indicate. Despite Monty Kiffiin’s (bow in awe, people) vaunted defense I think we’ll see a little more regression to the mean this week. Meaning we won’t see as much forcing to Julio, a little more Colin Peek and Marquis Maze, and a steadier reliance on play-action. McElroy will be alright. Aight!
- Tennessee Overall. I’ll preafce by saying this: anything can happen. Anything. UT could come in here and play the game of the decade and beat Alabama. But it isn’t very likely. This is not a good football team and there is no way around that. Tony Barnhart called this out as a trap game in the summer. But part of his premise was that UT would be winless in the conference. As you all know they aren’t. Beating a dreadful Georgia team hurt them more, in the context of this weekend’s contest, than anything. There wasn’t much chance that Alabama would overlook this UT team anyway but the big win in Knoxville ten days ago only served to make sure everyone was paying attention. As Mike Strange points out, UT’s first half body of work doesn’t look near as good as it did. SEC Offenive Player of the Week aside, Crompton is not a good QB and the Alabama defense should make that very evident. Hardersty is a great back, but Alabama’s run defense is no slouch either. The defense’s ability to nuetralize Crompton and make the game one-dimensional should effectively negate Hardesty (and super-frosh Bryce Brown as well). Things get a little more dicey with Alabama’s offense versus Tennessee’s defense. While statistically, they are a good defense, Auburn – yes the same Auburn that was just run over roughshod by Arkansas and Kentucky – lit them up like a Christmas tree. As I said, anything can happen, but if Alabama holds onto the ball and McElroy takes just one step back towards averages, we should be singing “Rammer Jammer” by mid fourth quarter.
Recruiting is not my bailiwick. I follow it mind you, at least from a distance. There is no doubt that it is the life blood of a program and I believe that we are seeing the fruits of Saban’s prowess in this area equating into wins, but I’d rather not check a plethora of sites on a daily basis to gleam what seventeen and eighteen year old kids are feeling about their college choices.
I did find interesting however, this. It’s a model put together by Mercer University to predict where recruits will sign and it has a better than 70% rate of success.
If the model is to believed, Alabama will close with Dre Kirkpatrick, Tana Patrick, Eddie Lacy, Darren Myles, and Kendall Kelly. It will miss on Rueben Randle and Patrick Patterson. I will qualify that by saying that is the way I interpeted the numbers. I could be wrong.
Interestingly enough, the model predicts Trent Richardson as a Florida commit although he is presently committed to Alabama. I suppose that if he switches we shouldn’t be surprised.
There are a dew others of note on there too.
(HT: Get the Picture)
I know I’ve had too many posts that begin with the words “Nick Saban” lately, but I couldn’t pass this up. While the rest of the college football world has been either laughing about the so called “Saban” rule – that keeps head coaches in the football building instead of the recruiting trail during the spring – or celebrating the victory of Saban not being able to out recruit them, Nick Saban has been figuring out a way to keep up the face time with high school recruits. Video conferencing.
The NCAA allows for prospects to call, or in this instance, video conference with head coaches recruiting them. All they have to do is go to the distance learning lab, which is in most high schools now. Saban has a web cam in his office and can talk face-to-face with them even though he can’t step foot in their high school. In a rare instance Kevin Scarbinsky brings something other than lame-ass Dennis Miller wannabe metaphors to the table and actually does some reporting.
As we speak Urban Myer is having the web cam installed in his office, as is Ron Zook. Phil Fulmer on the other hand is still figuring out how to get his glaze encrusted finger unstuck from the rotary dial. Just when he though he had this telephone thing beat too.
(HT: Ian Rapoport)
While typically we revel in any bad news that comes from the University of Tennessee, the recruiting news from Knoxville this year was so dismal that pity is the word that comes to mind. To be honest with you, Tennessee falling to the ranks of Kentucky and Vanderbilt just isn’t good for the conference or our favorite rivalry.
It has become obvious that the administration is not going to fire Coach Fulmer so we thought we might do something to help him out a little bit.
In the spirit of friendly competition, we offer: Jitterbug
It doesn’t talk a genius to figure out that Coach Fulmer is getting long in the tooth. After all, he is the dean of coaches in the SEC. It is apparant that technology has gotten ahead of the venerable coach. No one but very important doctors had cell phones when Phil became the big man (tee hee) in Knoxville in the early nineties. So it is understandable that he was slow to embrace the advances in technology.
In fact, a few years ago, when asked about the possibility of using a phone to recruit, Coach Fulmer replied, “I recruited Travis Henry and all I ever did was send him a letter. I am sure someone read it to him. What the hell do I need a phone for?”*
I can’t call a recruit on this?
The sad fact though, is that telephone communication is really the only way to communicate now. You’ve got to keep up with the times. Just ask Coaches Meyer, Richt, and Saban. This phone gives him a chance to enter the communication age.
Coach Fulmer has also never been accused of being what you would call – smart. We have gone on record as saying he wears velcro strapped shoes because the intelluctual intricacies that come with shoelaces and knots is just too much for him to handle. This phone is obviously designed for him.
It’s kind of like Fisher-Price but in reverse; it’s set up for slower, old people who need the uprgade in technology but aren’t competent enough to use a phone like the rest of us.
Good luck Coach Fulmer! With Jitterbug at your command, you might be able to crack the top 30 for next year’s recruiting class.
*There is no actual proof, that we found, that Coach Fulmer made these comments or is aware that there are cell phones.
It doesn’t take long to look around the internets this morning and realize that there are a lot of people that are trying to diminish the “victory” Alabama won yesterday. The sad thing is that it wasn’t a victory at all. Yes, I know that there are some that will equate it to that, and they are probably the one who wanted Saban fired after the Georgia loss this past year, but there is some correlation to recruiting success and being a highly ranked team. It’s not a guarantee but it is it does improve the odds.
Now you’re hearing things like, Alabama is cheating, Saban is leaving so it doesn’t matter, six-in-a-row, Tuberville does more with less talent, recruiting doesn’t mean anything. I can’t say that any of those things are wrong. Only time will tell on all those things. But as I mentioned yesterday, it certainly begins to put Alabama into position to achieve the things that coaches, administrators, and fans want and expect to happen around here.
On the realistic side, Alabama did get the signatures of a lot of talented kids. Many of them are from this state. Even if all don’t qualify, or make it on the field more prospective talent will be on campus this fall than has been in many years. That has got to help.
So, go ahead, say what you want. Diminish this all you can. From where I’m sitting it sounds like sour grapes. Ask yourself this Mr. or Ms. Hater, given your choice would you rather have your class or Alabama’s class. Unless your Georgia or Florida, and you’re honest, I think you know the answer, and that’s what it is all about.
Just to be on the safe side though, I’m gonna go ahead and book hotel rooms in Atlanta, Miami, Pasadena, Glendale, and New Orleans for the next four years.
Fans, followers, and observers of College Football have been anxiously awaiting today. It’s the day that high school athletes sign their letters of intent to the universtiy they have chosen to play for. There is probably no fan base that is more excited about today than those that follow the Alabama Crimson Tide. The main reasons for this excitement is that this is Coach Saban’s first full class of recruits and the class itself is projected to hold more talent than has been on campus in a single class in a long, long time.
There are several places that will provide free, in-depth coverage of the events of today and especially the much anticipated decisions by the few remaining un-pledged recruits. You can look here and here.
As my contribution for today I thought I would give you a few “does” and “doesn’ts”.
National Signing Day:
Does – give fans a chance to brag about an accomplishment, which is a big thing to a lot of Alabama fans for the relative lack of bright spots the last several years.
Doesn’t – automatically equate to success on the field. It certainly improves the chances of success but games, seasons, and championships are decided on the field, Saturdays in the fall. Not on Wednesdays in February. I’d trade ten 4-stars for a victory over Auburn or Tennessee.
Does - Give you an oppurtunity to tease rival fans about “the one that got away.”
Doesn’t – Complete a pass on 4th and Goal from the 20 to win a come-from-behind-win. Again, I’d trade the former for the latter.
Does – Make you feel good about the future of your program.
Doesn’t – Mean that you’ll actually get to see these kids play on Saturday. Odds are that a few if not several will never actually take meaningful snaps.
Does – Give you an excuse for drinking celebritory shots.
Doesn’t – Mean you’ll wake up without a hangover.
Does – Give the potential that weaknesess on the team will be shored up.
Doesn’t – Mean that weakness will be shored up August 30, 2008, or November 29, 2008, or late November, 2009. This is a process. It will take time.
So enjoy today for what it is; a mid-winter, off season diversion that gives you decent evidence that the program is heading in a direction you want it to (or not so much if your a UT fan this year) and nothing more.