Muahuahauahhahaha!!!! I am still laughing. Mostly from shock. To say our defense looked good is a little understatement. I can't really read much into it since all I heard before the game is that their O line is untested. Well, as far as test go, facing Terrence "(a nickname to be determined, I am gonna go with "Dozer") Cody, well the grade is Epic Fail! because he got off the ball so fast on most snaps, he was 2-4 yrds in the backfield shutting down the run. Then he of course drew the double and triple team which freed up more of our young players to make plays. Since they couldnt run the ball, it forced them into more passing situations, which allowed us to bring the pain. Plus the fact our offense put points on the board, which in turn takes the pressure off the D since it forces them to abandon the run so they can score points faster. Only problem is they have to complete passes and they didnt do that very well. Here is my take on the offense, the biggest concern from last year, but the most experienced/battle tested squad we have had in years:
The O-Line: Pretty much took Clemson behind the woodshed and made them LIKE IT. Came off the ball and gave room to our 15 backs to run and chip away 4-5 yrds to set up 3rd down conversions, which short 3rd downs set up either run/pass or play action for an easy 1st down since they were guessing. I think we could have announced to their D where we were gonna run it and Clemson still couldnt stop it.
JPW: Since the O-line took care of business, it allowed him to relax, settle down, make his passes on the mark, good reads and not try to do to much--make silly, soul crushing and game changing mistakes. The problem now is that he has set the bar really high for the rest of the season, and any thing less than what we saw vs Clemson, will draw critics with a quickness.He now has a solid O line, a running game between the tackles, and a huge target in the Predator know as Julio "Escalade" Jones, who, with his first TD vs Clemson, gets a free year of OnStar.
Mark Ingram: A guy we heard about, but really didn't get to hear much about since Saban likes to hold the cards close to the vest, and I am glad he did. He was the spark we needed and has the ability to run between the tackles, run good to the edge, and will run through people if needed. He will keep the LB's and the CB's coming up, which will help us go over the top to Julio when we need it. Seems to be a pretty good blocker too. He is our "Bootleg Knowshown Moreno". A good running game makes a good offense great. He pretty much stole the spotlight from Julio, but I am glad we have more than one weapon in our arsenal. With the line playing the way they have, there should be plenty of spotlight to go around.
Julio Jones: Lived up to his billing as a physical WR, strong off the ball and will light up lesser talented DB's for TD upon TD. Could possibly be our first Heisman Candidate in the history of the Crimson Tide, as long as we have a QB that can get him the ball. Scored his first TD, and with all the hype surrounding him, drew double coverage more than a few times, which helped McCoy get open and Walker, our mysterious Tight End, score 2 TDs. Young talent = immediate impact felt on both sides of the ball.
Terrence Cody and the D-Line: All you can say about this guy is: Holymuthafuckingoddayumshit! I'd hate to have to put on pads and have to try to move this guy for 4 quarters of football. There will be many centers re-thinking their career choices, as well as their O-line and O-coordinators. The type of player who is "A PROBLEM", and one that is hard to solve, barring any injury. He alone set the tone, made it hard for Static and Fart to run inside or outside, and kept the pressure off the LB's which helped the DB's do their thing and not have to come up so much on run support. A physical specimen to say the least, fired off the ball with quickness that surprised me and the O line for Clemson, since he was in the backfield or wreaking havoc for all 4 qtrs. If you can't run the ball, ya have to throw it, and its kinda hard to throw it with Sabans Blitz-O-Rama coming at ya. When the middle is shut down, things go better for the Defense all around. I hope we can keep up this intensity for the Georgia game.
Final Thoughts: I had a gut feeling we had something for Clemson. Hands down, probably the best prepared team I have seen since early 90's Gene Stallings team or a Defense that relentless since the 92 Championship team. Also, I cannot really tell if we were that great or if Clemson was really that bad, makes it hard to assess. This could be a year of some big surprises for us, and I hope the surprise is on the other team. I really hope this wasn't our best game of the season, and I would like to see this performance on Georgia,Auburn and LSU. Our advantage this year is that we are the only team in the SEC WEST with a returning starting QB. That lone point could be the difference in many close games if he plays like he did the other night. I think if we can keep these players in some sort of injury free status, we will have a better year than some people are giving us credit for. On the other hand, I wish they would not worry with ranking anyone til at least the 2ND week in October, keep us ranked at #24 for all I care. All I could tell is that JPW threw the ball, really with confidence and poise and stepped into it, no deer in the headlight look. The team played like they actually trusted each other, that when it was time to make a play, they could depend on their teammate to make that play. Its hard not to feel excited, but the words you will hear til the Georgia game is "Cautious Optimism". We should be able to go undefeated until the Georgia game, and we catch them in an awkward position. As most guys who follow gambling know, any time there is a cross country game in the pros or college, the one that traveled and has to play the following week usually is not favored since the travel does take a toll. Know this: The road to Ga's National Champ campaign starts or ends with Alabama. Write it down---we will be healthy, and our young players will have more game experience and ready to go, where Georgia will be finishing their game in Arizona. Since this is a college game, there will be no down time for them to recover. Could be a little hangover effect. It will be a good game, just like last year, and I think we are much improved, and the players we lost actually were replaced by better talent. Dont know if I can say that about Georgia, though they have added some young talent on the offense. The most telling game will be how
Bama comes out against Tulane. If they have the same fire and intensity, then this team will have the character to hopefully make this something special. Rule the trenches, rule the WEST!!!
ITS DEFINITELY A NEW TEAM AND A NEW YEAR!!! ROLLLLL TIDE ROLLLLL!!!111!!111!!!