Alabama beat Ole Miss yesterday 33-14 in a game that was in doubt for about 15 seconds.
But despite beating an SEC West rival by almost three touchdowns while holding that rival to only 218 yards, most Bama fans woke up in one of two camps this morning. One is the “hey we’re ok Ole Miss is getting better and we just had an off night camp” and the other is the “oh crap we just got outplayed by Ole Miss the same Ole Miss that gave up over 60 points to Texas” camp.
Football-wise, I usually see the glass half-empty, so I’m mostly in the latter camp. Why is that? Well, let’s see…
- When Ole Miss wasn’t arm-punting the ball, they were able to move the ball rather effectively and converted almost 50% of their 3rd down attempts (8 of 17);
- Two touchdown drives of 70+ yards driven right down the throat of the defense;
- An anemic rushing game that finished with 125 yards and averaged 3.4 yards per carry;
- An offense that scored zero points in the 3rd quarter;
- Four Jeremy Shelley field goals (as opposed to Cade Foster “another zip code field goals”);
- A passing attack that only completed 60% of its attempts for a measly 6.0 yards per attempt;
- Injuries to DeAndrew White, Deion Belue, Dee Hart and Ed Stinson.
Really, do I need to go on?
Yet, as I mentioned above, Alabama beat Ole Miss by almost three touchdowns and the game was never really in doubt.
Have I become so entitled as a Bama fan that nothing less than perfection is an insult to me or do I see cracks in our wall that I know will be severely tested over the next several games? I think it’s some of both:
- This defense is good, but it’s not 2009 or 2011 good. This unit should rank high nationally by the end of the year, but it’s not a “lock down get off the field when we tell you to” type of defense. Last year’s defense was susceptible to the the big passing play and drives like the two given up to Ole Miss were mostly non-existent;
- We dialed-up the pressure rather significantly against Ole Miss passers – and it was effective. The Rebel offense moved the ball well when the down and distance were manageable, but Alabama feasted on the Ole Miss offense in long yardage.
- Alabama’s run game continues to struggle – at least statistically. Yes, teams continue to load the box, but that’s nothing new against Nick Saban’s Bama teams. Lately, though, we’ve seemed to concede these out-manned situations until late in the game. That’s not what we did in in 2008 and 2009. Is it because we don’t have a Trent Richardson or Mark Ingram caliber back or is it because we’re content to pass vs. these situations? Or is it because we are not showing all of our offense yet? Good questions.
- Amari Cooper is as advertised or as Matt Millen would say, “he’s the real deal.” Cooper quickly became AJ McCarron’s favorite target against Ole Miss, hauling in eight passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns were phenomenal catches that few players could replicate.
- The first Cooper touchdown was smooth as glass and I would have understood if it had been reversed. The second was just as impressive as Cooper simply jumped over the Ole Miss defender and took the ball away. That’s instinct – plain and simple.
Finally, a word on the Ole Miss offense. Simply put, I hate it. I hated it when Gus Malzahn ran it at Auburn. I hate the Oregon version and I hate the Ole Miss version. It’s not real football and stands closer to cheating than innovative football. Quick guys, run up to the line and get set and then we’ll all look over to the sideline to get the play. If I had done the same thing on the play ground as a fifth grader, everyone would have called me a cheater.
I think this type of offense violates the competitive spirit of the game of college football. Running up to the line of scrimmage to get set before the other team can get set or substitute isn’t within the spirit of the game – not the game I grew up watching. (Basically, your team looks like a bunch of sissies that are afraid to huddle because they are afraid of the other team’s players.) I have no problem with the no-huddle offense per se, but I don’t like the sissified version on display last night.
I also think it’s cheating (or ought to be) for a team to line up and then everyone get out of their stance, turn to the sideline, get the play and then shift again before running the play. To fix this problem, I think once offensive linemen are in their stance, they should not be allowed to move. Backs and receivers should have the ability to shift as they always have, but the linemen should not be able to.
I’m not saying this because we lost. Again – we won by almost three touchdowns. I’m saying this because your team looks like a bunch of cheaters and sissies when they use it.