So Alabama hasn’t been consistent this year.
The defense isn’t up to ‘Bama standards.
The offense is under performing.
Woe is us.
So now we’re starting to hear this talk:
Should Alabama be ranked No. 1? Perspective on that will be much clearer Saturday night once we know how the Crimson Tide fared against the most complete team they’ve faced so far: Ole Miss.
So far this year, I’ve been one of those folks thinking the Tide has been sandbagging a bit – at least in the Virginia Tech and Colorado State games. These teams were overmatched and the outcomes were never really in doubt. To me, at the point in these games when the outcome was decided, we turned off our offensive jets. I don’t think our offensive game plans were very aggressive and there was certainly no reason to show much more.
Defensively, we looked great against a horrible Tech team, horrible against a great Texas A&M team, and mixed against CSU. Tech was just bad, the Aggies have Johnny Football and the Rams had an inside look at us via Jim McElwain.
In hind sight, we’re starting to hear about problems as well. The defensive players aren’t trusting their coaches and technique becomes optional in the games. The offensive line is struggling and, for them, communication becomes optional. On top of that, we’re battling through a significant number of injuries – especially in the toe region.
And all of that leads us to the mighty Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears. The RBBs were much improved last year – something that can’t be overstated – and are 3-0 this year, including wins over Vanderbilt and Texas. They run the vaunted hurry-up/no-huddle offense and some of their players hit some of our players last year (in a 33-14 loss). Oh, and they recruited well last year.
The a Black Bears can certainly win this week, but if you can detect my underwhelmed state, you detected correctly. Sure, Ole Miss is the underdog and is motivated to beat the Tide and take their program to the next level. But who does Alabama play that doesn’t think the same way?
This game, as is most of the others the Tide plays, is about what Alabama does on Saturday. Ole Miss can run a newfangled offense or bring back Eli Manning, but it really doesn’t matter. If Alabama plays anywhere close to its potential, it wins. Simple as that and it will likely show up as:
* No turnovers. It’s a cliche, I know, but it’s true. Turnovers make teams equal.
* Winning first down against the Ole Miss offense. The RBBs are a running team. It’s true against any team, but winning first down puts the Rebs behind the chains and makes them do what they don’t want to do on second and third down.
* Protect AJ McCarron. If the OL keeps AJ clean, we can name our score. If they sell out to stop the run, our receivers will gash them. I’d they play the pass, T.J. Yeldon and his buddies will have a big day.
That’s it, folks. Granted, we haven’t done these things consistently this year, but that’s what we need.
We’ll see, I guess.