A Few More Tennessee Thoughts

The Nick Saban years have brought quite a few memories for the ages.  Of course, there’s three national titles and the two SEC championships.  There’s the last-minute comeback at LSU.  And there’s the 49-0 beat down of Auburn in last year’s Iron Bowl.  These are all memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Yesterday’s 45-10 win over Tennessee falls into that realm as well.  There’s something to be said for come-from-behind, last second wins over rivals, but those are only cool if your rival is your equal, or if you aren’t quite to the level of your rival.  When you’re head and shoulders above your rivals, you expect to hammer them and that’s just what happened yesterday.

Specifically, there were two words that came to mind throughout the game: “candy” and “baby.”  A friend also recommended this word: “bludgeoning.”  I’m sure we could think of a few more, as well.  The point is, this game was never in doubt and the final score could have been a lot worse.

Here are a few more random thoughts:

* AJ McCarron usually had all day in the pocket.  There were a couple of times he had to move out of the pocket, but I don’t believe a Volunteer laid a hand on him all game.

* Ryan Kelly stepped back into the starting role at center.  Most Tide fans swore the offensive line play picked up a notch when Chad Lindsey replaced the injured Kelly earlier this year, so it was interesting that Kelly took back his job and played most of the game.  The ‘Bama coaches obviously see something in Kelly that most Tide fans don’t.

* I thought for sure Amari Cooper had suffered a serious knee injury.  Based on the replay, I was very surprised to see him bounce back.

* Landon Collins is already one of my favorites.  He’s been a special teams nightmare for opponents and regularly hammers folks, but his play yesterday – especially his pick six – moved him into a different level among Tide faithful.  The commentators are rightfully saying that he and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are the best tackling safety duo in the country.  Clinton-Dix will probably be an All-American this year and Collins one next year.

* Give Matt Millen props.  I do believe Kenyan Drake is our best back at this point, though he’s got to keep working on ball security.

* I believe kick and punt returners are born, not made, and Christion Jones was born a returner.  He’s got three things working in his favor here: he can catch the ball, he has speed and moves and he’s extremely confident in his ability.  Javier Arenas was a better all-around return man, but Jones isn’t far behind.

* The pass interference call on Cooper was bogus and seemed like an act of mercy by the official toward UT.  (Good thing that official wasn’t working the 2005 UT game where D.J. Hall made the spectacular catch to set up the winning field goal.)

* I’m surprised that Kevin Norwood’s fumble wasn’t ruled a fumble.  His momentum was clearly stopped, but it would’ve helped if a whistle had blown.

* Trying to get Dee Hart a score probably cost us another touchdown.  I’m not trying to be greedy and I’d like to see Hart score as well, but I believe that’s what happened.

Anyway, it was a great win and a memory I hope to cherish for a long time.

Roll Tide!