They are a part of life. I’m amazed at how disappointed some Alabama fans are after this game. But, when you have the most passionate football fan base in the SEC, that is something that comes with the territory. To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, I’d take out the airplane kisses and things of that nature. But, we’ve all seen people do dumb stuff we can’t control.
The game was a flop, plain and simple. We played awful on offense, which forced us to push our already thin defense too hard yet again. Even though that wind let Florida State start out with good field position, our special teams did nothing to gain anything back. Part of that can be blamed on the offense, who couldn’t get a first down. John Parker Wilson -or J.P. Wilson, as Doug suggests- seems to be having problems finding open receivers. I’ll give some of that credit to FSU, who probably has the fastest defense we’ve seen in a while. He just went with the short, safe passes way too much. If you want to win, you have to throw for more than 4 yards sometimes. If he can just get some more protection and keep his dancing shoes off, he can be a dangerous passer at times. Maybe we should just run no huddle more often, since he looks like a world beater when we run it.
The two players I take the most pride in after this game are Keith Brown and Mike McCoy. Brown seems to have developed a reputation as a “soft” player. Well, after that lick he took Saturday, I hope that reputation is put away for good. I don’t know what he did to get into Saban’s doghouse, but he proved to me that he is a guy who is there for the team after that play. McCoy and Brown have both been willing to go over the middle and catch some tough balls, even if they get nailed. Not to say that the other receivers aren’t tough, I know they have to be to play football. But, Brown and McCoy have stood out to me in this regard these last two games.
With all of the gnashing of teeth over some of the blown tackles by the defense, I’d say they’ve played about as well as they can. We saw an offense that went 3 and out for pretty much the entire first half of the game, which means that our defense had to stay on that field and try to get the ball back repeatedly. If you want to know why our 4th quarter defense has seemed so bad at times, it is because our offense is basically forcing them to play way too many minutes when you consider the amount of actual depth we have. (“2007 is the year” my butt Mike Shula!)
The coaching overall has been an improvement this year. Did they get out coached yesterday? Yes, I’d say so. The one area I think Coach Saban didn’t truly understand until now was the mental endurance of the players.
We all know they want to win, but I don’t think they’re used to playing at a high level for so long like they have to do now. These last few years, our schedules got tougher in late October and mid-November, where we had to play some games that required high intensity. What did we do back then? We folded easier than a pair of Phil Fulmer’s college slacks being put up for the rest of his natural life. That is the big cog that’s missing in this machine. These players might just be trying to revert back to their old habits (we normally played patsies for non-conference September). You can’t fix this in a matter of weeks. Saban’s first big task is to get the players to realize that you can’t just decide when to turn it on, you have to do it the entire game. He’s been preaching it for a while now, let’s wait and see what he does with some evidence in his back pocket.
If he can turn it around, we are capable of beating Tennessee and Auburn with some guts, hard work, and the occasional good luck. If not, we’ll struggle against the Mississippi schools.
(HT: Hey Jenny Slater)