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1) What will Alabama have to do in order to regroup after the loss to
South Carolina and prepare for Ole Miss?

It would seem that the team needs to learn form their mistakes and focus on the task at hand. It’s hard to put a finger on one particular thing that needs to be fixed, and thus it falls to the leaders of this team to step forward and push where needed.

There is still tremendous talent on this team. Despite the failures we saw last week, if a few things had gone differently (stopping the first third and long on their opening possession, stopping Garcia on his first down scramble, Darius making to catch for first down over the middle, executing better on second and five, etc.) then the whole game goes differently.

The time for excuses and what-ifs (if there were ever such a time) is gone. This team needs to execute – that’s what they can control – the other things will take care of themselves.

2) How does the Crimson Tide match up against the Rebels going into
Saturday?

It’s hard for me to say, because I just don’t know that much about this Ole Miss team. They have an athletic quarterback and that gave Alabama’s defense trouble last week. But beyond that, I’m just not schooled enough in what they run or have to work with.

Getting back to my first answer though, this game needs to be more about Alabama anyway. Can our guys execute? Can our guys show resiliency? Can our guys dominate play after play?

This Alabama team is deeper and more talented – I do know that much. They have more to play for. They are better coached. To me, this week, that’s the only important match up.

3) What is the biggest area of improvement you’d like Alabama make in
this game?

Focus and intensity. To continue on a theme: execution.

4) What are your thoughts on the Ole Miss mascot debate?

They missed the bus by letting the Admiral Ackbar thing go.

Seriously, and I hate to paint with broad brushes and I know that the following is not true with every single Ole Miss fan, but:

Ole Miss still represents everything that is wrong with the South. And they’re proud of that.

The elitist attitude of maintaining the Southern Aristocracy has got to die out before it makes any difference what their mascot is. Not to cast stones from glass houses – there is still an air of that at Alabama – but Ole Miss is the poster child of the “way it out to be” by their own reckoning and no one else’s. It’s as if they believe that they are the last bastion of all that is or was good with the South. Something tells me that the vast majority of them think it is a travesty that Colonel Reb still isn’t the mascot. Until they get beyond that, what does it really matter?

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I rarely agree with Scarbinsky. I beleive him to be a failed Dennis Miller wannabe and sensationalistic blowhard. But I will give him props when he deserves them.

He’s a little more bullish on the prospects of the football team that Alabama will field in ’09 than some of the “experts” are.

Basically, three pundits have proclaimed the Tide a top six team that will be in the mix for the national title again.

In this instance, I thinks he’s got it right.

I’ll go ahead and go on the record now and say that Alabama should begin the season around 15. You don’t immediately contend with 2/5 of an experienced offensive line (including replacements at center and left tackle) or a wide-eyed quarterback.

The possibiltity is there to see addition by subtraction at the signal caller position but the line will take a few games to get it together either way. You don’t go on a strong campaign without good line play. You just don’t.

The only saving grace could be the schedule. Auburn and Ole Miss will be the toughest road games, not the mention the season opener againast a Virginia Tech team that improved most of the last half of the season. The Tide does get a rebuilding Tennessee, an improved Arkansas, and an always dangerous LSU at home. Exchaning Georgia for South Carolina helps as well.

My belief is that the offense is purring by the end of the season and the defense has become other worldly. This makes me think that as play begins in 2010 that Alabama will be loaded at most every position and a top three pre-season ranking will be warranted.

I don’t think that the parallels are exactly the same but, for the most part, the third year of a new coach, following a great second year, is usually down. LSU just completed the worst season since Saban’s third year. The fourth year is statiscally a good year though. Just look at Saban, Meyer, or Les Miles for further proof.

(ht: Bama Sports Report)

Thanks to Todd over at Roll Bama Roll for hosting this week.


1. What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are
we Overrated? Underrated? Just right?

I’m still feeling good about the position. If the team can keep winning, everything will take care of itself.

2. What aspect of the game did Alabama control that shocked you the most?
What aspect of the game was Alabama dominated in that shocked you the
most?

Alabama tried, and finally did establish a passing game this weekend. Tennessee countered with a pretty fierce rush but McElwain and company countered with roll outs. Also, hats off to John Parker; he took a few early hits but never lost his poise.

I was also presently surprised with Alabama’s defense against the screen pass (minus the touchdown). That is an area of improvement over the struggles from earlier in the season.

For a team that stunk it up on punt returns earlier in the year, the Vols did a great job on neutralizing the threat of an Arenas return. Drunk or not, minus the shank, Britton Colquitt is one helluva punter.

3. Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.

I’ll go with at least three on each side: John Parker, Roy Upchurch , and Julio Jones when we had the ball. Rolando McClain, Dont’a Hightower, and Javier Arenas when they had the ball. This was truly a team effort on all fronts.

This is probably an excellent segue into the fact that my wife is expecting our third son late this winter and as we already have two other boy children, names are getting harder to choose. At some point during the game, my wife tells me that our newest addition was turning flips inside her and she figured it was a response to her nervousness over the game and the noise and general rowdiness coming from me and the other two boys. Sometime during the fourth quarter, in what has become an almost daily occurrence in our home, she turns to me and says,  “what are we going to call this child,” and in as serious a face and voice as I could muster in that moment, without hesitation, I said, “Javier Julio Tyrone.”  She thought for a moment and  said, without cracking a smile, “Javier Julio Tyrone, child of the covenant, I now baptize you in the name of….” (for those of you who aren’t Presbyterian, or other infant baptizing denominations, that’s what the minister says right after he has asked you the christian name of the child and before he sprinkles water on its head, and is in front of the entire congregation on Sunday morning.)

4. Arkansas State got a BCS scalp at Texas A&M to open their season,
while we’re still living down the humiliation of a loss to their
fellow Sun Belt member La.-Monroe.  We’ve worried about a letdown all
season long and, considering a similarly dominating win over UT
preceded the November death spiral last year, are we in danger here?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Alabama is certainly in danger. Arkansas State will not be bothered at all by 92,000 plus. They expect to beat the Tide, or at least compete with them. Alabama will have to play four good quarters of football to win this game.

With that being said, beating A&M might be the worst thing that could have happened to Arkansas State. Alabama will take them seriously. I think the same was true of Ole Miss and their win over Florida, prior to playing Alabama. It is cliche to say that any team can lose to any team even though it’s true. But having a win like that is a hard-core, eye-opening fact, that gets players attention more than just coach-speak. Alabama must take this team seriously, as they have to do with every team on the schedule, but evidence that not playing your best game can cost you should work in the Tide’s favor. They won’t be “sneaking up” on Alabama – at least that’s what I hope.

5. Looking around the SEC, which team is the most undervalued in the
league?  Who is the most overvalued?

Undervalued is a little easier and I’m going with Ole Miss for that distinction. They have been in every game they played – one score from winning all of their losses. A not-so-close second is Auburn. Yeah, I know things seem bad down there, but if you turn down Finebaum long enough to see the facts, other than the WVU game, you can say the same thing about themas Ole Miss. There is talent down there, especially on defense. Burns is gaining experience and if they can win the game this weekend, they could be very dangerous down the stretch. They should give Georgia a good game at home and will absolutely play lights out when they visit T-town the weekend after Thanksgiving. Think I’m wrong? Think back to 2004 when they were undefeated and Alabama had defined mediocrity. The Tide gave them everything they wanted, taking a lead into halftime and being a score from tying it up on the last drive. Just because they are 4-4 and Alabama is 8-0 starting November doesn’t mean that the streak is over. I won’t rest easy on that one until Alabama is ahead and the clock reads 0:00.

For overvalued, I’m going with Alabama or Florida.  Florida still sports a home loss to the Rebels and despite a couple of impressive wins since, then they still have holes. I just don’t believe that Myer’s spread is a pound-it-out type offense. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly good, but have you noticed it’s feast or famine with the points. They get in rhythm and it’s like turning on a faucet with the handle broken off, you can’t stop it. On the other hand, if they don’t get going to begin with, they don’t seem near as potent. The Gators do have a much-improved defense and a collection of incredible athletes but you don’t want to peak against Kentucky and in light of what Georgia just did in Baton Rouge, the win over LSU doesn’t look near as good.

Alabama has yet to be punched in the mouth early, if you don’t count Tulane, and, despite a few good performances lately, I’m not sure if the pass protection is good enough to make a two-score rally. Let’s face it, if passing is predictable, I’m not sure the tools are there. On the bright side, Alabama is not going to see anything from defensive lines they haven’t already seen, so I think they can run the ball on anybody, but no one has said, “we dare you to pass” by selling out on the run. The effective passing this team has done has been when they wanted to, not because they had to.

What Alabama does have is an earth-mover of a line, a couple of sure-handed receivers, a couple of better-than-average tight ends, a handful of work-horse running backs, and an experienced if not flashy quarterback. No one’s talking about Heisman for any of these guys and they aren’t going to put up sixty points but who else in the conference can claim all the elements Alabama has on that side of the ball.

This week’s questions courtesy of the Tide Druid.

1. What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are we Overrated? Underrated? Just right?

My biggest fear after watching Oklahoma lose last week was that Alabama would take the spot that they vacated. The Tide is positioned perfectly. There may be a target on the number ranked team but it isn’t near as big as the target for the number one team.

2. Kentucky’s Defensive Line gave Alabama an afternoon of problems. Considering that Ole Miss is said to have a better D-Line, is there a cause for concern, or our we just over-reacting to a tired team’s performance?

I’ll gladly take the problems that go along with over 400 yards of offense. Personally, I thought that the fumbles and miss field goal aside, the offense did alright. Ole Miss’ line scares me but that only because I wake up in cold sweats still, dreaming of the whipping they put on the Alabama O-line last year.

3. What part of Alabama’s team concerns you against Ole Miss? Likewise, what aspect of the game should Alabama control?

I am mostly concerned about the intensity not being there. Alabama is a more talented team than Ole Miss and other than Snead having time to make plays I believe the Tide should win easily. They just can’t be allowed to hang around.

I apologize for mailing it in this time. It’s been one hell of a week.

Having completed week seven, we are at the halfway of the 2008 football season. Sad isn’t it. Of course if you’re an Alabama fan, up to this point, you really can ask for nothing more. Here is quick look at where conference teams are, where we thought they would be and what’s coming in the future:

Alabama

After week seven Alabama stands as the only undefeated team in the conference, a consensus number two in the major polls, and a projection from major media outlets as a player in the BCS championship game.

Wow! Just wow!

After coming off a 7-6 campaign that defined mediocrity and being picked to finish third in the division only the most delusional fans would have predicted this. Yours truly predicted the Tide to have two losses at this point. The rise of Alabama to this point has been nothing short of miraculous.

It starts with an injury list that is virtually empty, superior play from some guys on the roster that no one though were capable of such, and an influx of incredible new talent. Alabama has played a little too up and down for some but has been there when it mattered.

The season opening Clemson win looks less and less impressive as the fighting Bowdens spiral into oblivion and the low scoring affairs with Tulane and Kentucky are not exactly huge accomplishments. The win over Georgia, in Athens, stands as the best accomplishment on their resume. The Arkansas win gained a little more luster after the weekend, even if that’s only within the confines of our great state.

The rest of the season looks manageable but scary. Alabama will begin the second half of the season with a target squarely on its back. For teams like Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and now, Auburn, beating Alabama would be a high point for less-than-stellar seasons. LSU might be the only team left that Alabama will be an underdog against and that is a big, might.

Fan-in-me aside: I’ll admit it. I am very excited about this season but it makes me as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a rocking chair factory. There isn’t a team Alabama plays that cannot beat them if they are not ready and committed. The Tide can beat everyone on the schedule, but Auburn could have beaten Arkansas. Will I be content with 9-2? Probably not now although it would be a definite improvement. It’s easy to look at the present tenuous situation that all of our rivals are in and say Alabama should role but all three of those teams can be very dangerous to an unprepared team and Alabama has yet to trail. How will they respond when they do? Tennessee worries me and worse than that LSU and Auburn are still, despite the recent troubles, the proud holders of streaks over Alabama that fill up at least one hand. Nothing is proven until those streaks are reversed.

Hold on. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

To be continued…

In a well deserved acknowledgment, the SEC named Alabama’s senior quarterback, John Parker Wilson, the conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Wilson looked like a true leader on Saturday night.

On another note, it’s hard to watch or listen to a media outlet in this state this morning and not hear about the Tide. It’s even harder to peruse the internets and not see Alabama as a major topic on conversation today. I’ve heard or read national championship more time than I can count this morning and the phrase, “undefeated LSU and Alabama meeting in November is huge” has been uttered more time than a few.

Let’s do a good job and keep this in perspective. There are seven more gamers to be played
starting with an undefeated Kentucky team this weekend. Kentucky is unranked and has a chip on their shoulder because they are not getting any respect.

Ole Miss, who Alabama faces in a little less than three weeks, just defeated Florida, at home.

Tennessee, who seems to be headed toward oblivion, will not roll over and die when Alabama comes into town at the end of the month. In fact, nothing would make Fulmer happier than to upset Alabama as it might save his job and will certainly be a point of pride.

Arkansas State would love nothing more than to upset Alabama on homecoming and will put forth their best effort.

I don’t believe that I need to say anything about LSU.

State has a two game winning streak against Alabama and always, always plays out of their minds against the Tide.

And Auburn. If you don’t think that Tuberville can whip those guys into a frenzy to play Alabama then you haven’t been watching football.

There is a long, long way to go. Just as the team needs to focus on the the next game, so do we. It’s nice to dream and speculate and it’s wonderful to celebrate, God knows we’ve needed that win to charge us up. But let’s keep focus.

There is nothing at this point but a good Kentucky team that can beat Alabama unless the Tide gives their best effort. Let’s be ready to fill Bryant-Denny on Saturday and cheer as if that is the only game left to play, because in truth, if we (every last one of us)  don’t, it just might be.

Roll Tide! Beat the Wildcats!

If you are an Alabama fan and, like me, you’re getting prepared to start tailgating then I think it’s probably a good idea to get out your Bloody Mary and Mimosa recipes. Breakfast casseroles and pigs-in-a-blanket and breakfast burritos are probably going to be in high demand too. Why you ask, do we need to get these morning delicacies ready for consumption? I’ve already done some game predictions for the year and now I’m going to go ahead and do some game-time predictions as well.

I believe that several of Alabama’s games this year, especially home games, are going to be on Raycom/Lincoln Fianancial/Jefferson Pilot. In fact, I’m betting the Daves already have some rooms booked- maybe even a condo or townhouse rented for the fall.

Clay Travis at Deadspin has released what he says is a leaked schedule for CBS – the primary broadcaster of SEC football games – this fall. I’ve looked over it and, while one could debate the legitimacy of the document in question – I’m sure CBS has a plan but would be foolish to lock in a season’s worth of games before the season – but the list that is presented makes sense based on a look at the schedule right now.

The good news is that there are a lot of great games this season in the SEC and there are quite a few weekends that I could be locked in a room with a working television, some snacks, plenty of beer, and a place to relieve myself I would be utterly content from 9:00 in the morning until I passed out sometime that night. The bad news is that most of those games take place in stadiums other than Bryant-Denny.

I believe that the consensus is that Alabama’s home schedule is weak this season, but the full effect of that weak schedule is going to play out, I predict, with quite a few 11:30 kick-offs. Here, I’ll break it down for you (keep in mind that on all but one week of the season CBS has first pick and they have two picks one Saturday, ESPN picks second and then Raycom gets whats left):

  • Clemson – In Atlanta; night game on television (ABC)
  • Tulane – Bryant-Denny Stadium; 6:07 kickoff on PPV
  • Western Kentucky – BDS; 6:07 kickoff on PPV
  • Arkansas – Fayetteville; probable JP game (I’m sorry, it may be Raycom now, but it will always be JP in my heart) LSU plays Auburn and Florida plays Tennessee that same day. One of those certainly will be CBS and the other the ESPN night game. Georgia plays Arizona State, which is an ABC game. Vandy and Ole Miss, which in theory sounds like a JP game, might get the morning slot but ESPN would have to take the Tide and Hogs as the second night game. I’m, not sure they want to air three SEC games that night on their family of networks plus UA and UA may both be 2-1 with losses to Clemson and the probable pantsing at Texas the week before.
  • Georgia – Athens; this almost certainly an ESPN night game. Auburn and Tennessee should be the CBS game with Ole Miss versus Florida and State at LSU battling it out for JP honors.
  • Kentucky – BDS; Not the best day in the SEC this season. Florida is at Arkansas (meh – but supposedly on the radar for CBS along with the UK/UA game. Other scorchers this day include, USC (cocks) and Ole Miss and Vandy at Auburn. Honestly that’s four JP worthy games. If Ole Miss and South Carolina are playing well (should/could both be 4-1) the there may be ESPN interest but Kentucky should be, in all honesty, undefeated when they visit T-town and hopefully that will win out for the ESPN game but I don’t see them both being on during prime-time. I’ll say 30% chance of Dave honors.
  • Ole Miss – BDS; According to the Deadspin list CBS has LSU and South Carolina, which makes sense but if Ole Miss is a one loss team at that point it will be because they beat South Carolina -giving them their second loss – 14 days before. Both Alabama and the Rebels come off bye weeks so CBS could opt for that game. Georgia plays Vandy which is typical JP fodder except for the recent closeness of those games, Arkansas is at Kentucky (two teams who should be losing interest at that point) and State is at Tennessee. There again, this is a day full of, what seems right now, mediocre match ups. While I’d say that Alabama wasn’t a lock to play the JP game that day I’d say they are 50-50 to though. The thing that helps is the possible resurgence of a Nutt-inspired Rebel squad and the competitiveness of these games the last few seasons. This could just as easily end up on ESPN as it does JP.
  • Tennessee – Knoxville; Unless some miracle happens and the Vols and Tide are undefeated then CBS will broadcast Georgia and LSU – which should be a phenomenal game. I just don’t see a replay of last years step-child treatment to the Third Saturday in October. Kentucky/Florida and Ole Miss/Arkansas just don’t offer the same prime-time meat that Alabama at Tennessee does.
  • Arkansas State – BDS; While nothing official is out yet, since this is Homecoming it is all but guaranteed to be a 2:00 PPV game.
  • LSU – Baton Rouge; This is almost certainly the CBS game. Deadspin says that Georgia and Kentucky are possibilities but unless Kentucky is undefeated or only has one loss, I just don’t see that game bumping Saban’s return to Tigah Stadium. All eyes will be on Baton Rouge that day but I’m sure given their druthers, the LSU fans would prefer the night game.
  • Mississippi State – BDS; The “leaked” CBS schedule has the option of South Carolina and Florida or Georgia and Auburn and one of those is certain to be called by Uncle Verne while the other goes to ESPN. Vandy and Kentucky reeks of JP, but if ESPN decides to only broadcast one SEC game that day then Croom’s return to Tuscaloosa might get the Dave treatment. The only thing that helps this situation is State’s streak of two-in-a-row, both on JP, could create enough of a story to warrant prime-time. State’s three-five losses coupled with Alabama’s three-four to that point might negate that interest. This has a 70% chance of being JP bound.
  • Auburn – BDS; On the newly formed SEC Rivalry Day, Florida and South Carolina both play their in-state, ACC rivals in their stadiums, excluding them from consideration. LSU and Arkansas as well as State and Ole Miss will have played the day before as has become their tradition. That leaves Georgia Tech and Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee, and Alabama and Auburn to battle it out for the CBS slot. The Jackets and the Bulldogs are definitely the bigger market game but the match up just doesn’t carry the umph that the Tide and Tigers do. I don’t think that any of the games that day get Daved, but to be honest with you, I’d rather be the ESPN game. There is just something about a night game. This is the first year that the game has been this late in the year and in Tuscaloosa. The change to standard time coupled with the waning hours of daylight guarantee that (if kicked off at 2:30) this game will finish at night, which is good enough. It will also probably be good chili and bourbon weather. Remember, Tennessee and Kentucky were the CBS game last season and the Iron Bowl was on ESPN.

That makes four strong candidates for JP honors this year and every home conference game with the exception of Auburn. Either way, Alabama is probably going to be on CBS only once or twice tops. I think that’s a good thing. I prefer night games over day games any time, but if I’m at a game at 11:30 then I’m out by 3:00 and have the rest of the day to absorb what else is going on around the country. The other silver lining of that cloud is that I only have to listen to the Daves one time at the most. No matter who you pull for, I’m sure you can agree that that is a good thing.

Link Update. I updated my links section on the right with a few new additions (at least as far as my links go). Bama Sports Report always has a bunch of information – plus they have been linking to me for quite a while, so I kinda owed them. Eight in the Box had put the keyboard down for a while but has thankfully picked it back up and I appreciate the link from their site. Make sure to check out the Coffee Conversations.

The last link might be a little bit of an enigma, but despite his rooting interest, the Joe Cribbs Car Wash is a fantastically written blog. If you want to get an open, honest, well thought-out view through the eye of the Tiger check out this blog.  It has become one of my many stops on my daily trips through cyber-space.

Injuries, Injuries.Looks like the Injury bug hit Georgia and Ole Miss big time yesterday. The losses of Sturdivant and Hardy (while only for six to eight weeks) loom big for the respective programs. Maybe it’s just the parent in me but I keep expecting to get to the office every morning and hear about the big injury in practice yesterday and every day that passes without that news leads me to believe that Alabama is  in for a big one. Of course, on the other hand maybe Croyle, Prothro, Closner, and Knight have paid Alabama’s karmic dues

So long Chef. It hasn’t been mentioned very much in the things I have read but as most of you know by now, Issac Hayes past away this past weekend. There has been a lot of discussion from folks about the man ans his music and almost every one of them mentions the theme for “Shaft” and rightly so as it earned him a Grammy award. But in my opinion his most pivotal piece of music, the one that opened his genius to a whole new generation and secured his legacy in Americana is this composition right here:

Travel well Mr. Hayes, travel well.

Thanks to Gerry Dorsey for this week’s fascinating questions:

1. what team will be the biggest surprise in the sec in ’08?? the biggest disappointment??

I’m sticking with my prediction that Ole Miss is the sleeper in the conference and I will add that I would not be surprised to see the Cocks (hehe – he just said cocks – absolutely never gets old) do well this year. The Vawls are this years train wreck waiting to happen; no defense + new offense = disaster.
2. we appear to know who our qb is going to be for the season barring something crazy, but not all offensive skill positions are so certain. as the season progresses, who do you see stepping up to be this squad’s most productive rb?? and wr??

Terry Grant is due. But I also believe that Saban likes the committee style running back so I look for either Jimmy Johns (my bad, couldn’t resist) Roy Upchurch or Glen Coffee to make their mark this year. As far as receiver look for Nikita Stover to lead all categories, but I believe there will not be a lot of difference between the group as a whole. You should notice a trend here – I believe that if this offense is successful it will be because the ball is spread around and keeps the defense guessing. We’ve been used to one running back with all the carries and one WR leading all others by a large margin. I don’t think you’re going to see that this season and if you don’t the most important stat, W, will be greater that it has been lately.

3. obviously “the saban” is lord and savior, and created the heavens and the earth, but if you were forced to trade saban for another active coach, who would it be and why??

Similar to Gerry’s answer for the trade-a-player question a few weeks ago, I’m standing pat. There is no one else I want. I think that Saban is the perfect coach at the perfect time for Alabama. To give a little bit of an answer I’ll say that I like the way that Mark Richt is running things at Georgia and I think that Tubberville is doing about as well at Auburn as any coach can, and he is to be commended for that but I quite happy with who we have and neither one of those guys would come to Alabama now anyway. Our next coach will be coordinator somewhere with a lot of success or a mid major coach with the same characteristic. But I hope that in at least 5-7 years, minimum.

4. some people view bama fans as insane. while “insane” is an awfully strong word, many bama fans have a disturbing obsession with their team. what is the most significant/unique/valuable/weird piece of bama paraphernalia you have and why??

As soon as I wake up on a game day before I do anything else I place my crimson flag with the white scripted A in its place on the front of our house. Only football games, whether home or away; so this happens twelve or thirteen times a year, but it is the most crucial thing I do that day and I am obsessive about it. If I am at the site of the away game I call my wife and make sure she has it up (she hasn’t traveled much since the children arrived- that’s changing this year and I’m not sure what I’m going to do – well, there goes any hope for productive work today.) Also when out of towns guests are stating with us, they are awakened by “Yea, Alabama” very loud. Hungover or not.  In ’99, after I put the flag up I would go get Hardee’s biscuits and got to my dad’s and we’d read the paper, eat, drink coffee and discuss the game. We won the SEC that year. I guess I’ve got to start that again. OK, I’m very OCD about game days. Game days are the best.

The following is my stab at the roundtable questions that Tide Druid posted earlier this week. It was a little tough to make it to this point without reading the responses of other Tide bloggers.

1) Will the new offense and Offensive Coordinator be a positive change for John Parker Wilson? If so, how much? If not, what concerns you? I really don’t see how it couldn’t be a positive for Ross’ brother (I am not referring to him by any other name until he earns it). He looked pretty bad at the end of the season last year with the first quarter of the bowl game as the exception. If McElwain’s history is any indication then there should be significant improvement in Ross’ Brother’s play this season. He had a relatively good sophomore campaign and I believe that his confidence was just shaken last season. Let’s face it, he is never going to make huge plays with his arm but he is capable of not getting the team in trouble and getting the ball to the playmakers. A good coordinator- and I believe that McElwain is- should be able to help him do that.

2) We’ve all felt the excitement of landing this studly freshmen class on signing day, but what expectations should we have once they all land in Tuscaloosa? Kareem Jackson had some “doh” moments last year and he would follow that up with a play that makes you think, “Wow!” That’s my expectation for the class and this season. They are going to look inept at times and then they are going to really impress. When the impressive plays outnumber the inexperienced mistakes the team will be getting somewhere.

3) What were your initial thoughts of the somewhat split job of Defensive Coordinator? Have they changed since then, or are they still the same? At the end of the day it’s all Saban’s defense, you can give the underlings whatever title they want. Steele could be referred to as a Sith Lord, it isn’t going to affect how the defense performs. I also try not to critique coaching decisions too much anyway.

4) In your eyes, who needs to step up the most in a position of depth concern? Young linebackers like Anders, Hester, and Higginbotham plus any able freshman. I would also like to see McCoy, Stover, Alexander and Hanks step up to take the expectation off the freshman as they get used to college level play.

5) We’ve all heard the talk of this possibly being Mal Moore’s last season as Athletic Director. What will his legacy be when it is all said and done? I have often said that Moore will be remembered as a great brick-and-mortar AD. As far as getting us into the 21st Century with our facilities, and not just football facilities, he has been a great AD. I believe that is the legacy he leaves.

6) Other than Georgia, what non-Alabama SEC team impresses you the most? (because everyone would normally answer UGA) I wouldn’t use the word impress here but I am going to be watching Houston Nutt’s Ole Miss Rebels very closely this year. Orgeron left some talent there and while I think his results would have been better had they given him another year, I am confident that Nutt will gat a lot out of them and they will beat someone (or two) who they are not supposed to. I really hope that it isn’t Alabama- this is the tenth anniversary of his magical season at Arkansas and that was under similar circumstances.

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