Roundtable! Roundtable! Roundtable! Every question must be answered!
Yes! Our contestants participants have graciously given their time and blog money to answer the questions of one college student who happened to be bored out of his mind. They, like myself, are big time Bama fans who dedicate their mornings and evenings to blogging, providing you with quality humor, analysis, and…. other things bloggers do. Let’s meet are participants! (BTW, my actions are inside the little * marks)
*Price is Right music cranks up*
- Todd from Roll Bama Roll!
- Tony Orlando from Alabama Gameday!
- Gerry Dorsey from Uncle Rico’s Time Machine!
- The Capstone Report!
- TideFaninTN from Third Saturday in Blogtober!
- Picture Me Rollin!
- Will Heath from DBH Dance Party! (and them fancy news sheets)
- and your host, The Tide Druid!
*points, winks, and smiles* What a great bunch of guys!
Next, let’s go over something about the new Crimson and White Roundtable. As the host, it is my duty to perform a Roundtable Round-Up (or whatever you prefer to call it). The weekly host picks their favorite answers of the other Bama Blogger participants, to provide everyone out there with an easy access source for your Roundtable reading pleasure.
This is an EXTREMELY looooooooooooong post, so please click the link below to read some of the selected comments. I for one would like to offer our contestants participants a hearty ROLL TIDE!
1) Will the new offense and Offensive Coordinator be a positive change for John Parker Wilson? If so, how much? If not, what concerns you?
Any kind of change would be a positive one for both Wilson AND the Tide fanbase after the up and down season he had last year. If you’re gonna suck, then suck it big Reggie Ball style (can’t wait for the google searchs that’s going bring in!), but don’t tease us with spectacular performances against the Vols and then collapse inward like a dying star the rest of the way.
Honestly, I’ve got some very high hopes for Wilson this season. We all know about McElwain’s tutelage of Brandstater at Fresno State; how he took him from a major offensive liability to a respectable QB and oversaw a thorough and shameful dismantling of “defensive genius” Jon Tenuta’s Georgia Tech defense (I put that in quotes ’cause his genius reputation is built on blitzing a lot, which, what? I blitz on every down in NCAA 2008, does that make me a genius? No, it doesn’t. My gigantic intellect and ability to freeze water with my mind make me a genius. Can you freeze water with your mind Tenuta? No, you can’t. So there.) after a great season offensively, so if he can both a) teach Wilson to not stare down his receivers..no wait, that was plural, let’s make that receiver… and b) figure out a way to call plays that both reflect the reality of the situation on the field (i.e., your QB clearly rattled and in way over his head) AND aren’t bonehead (i.e. play fakes on clear passing downs right in the face of one of the best rush ends in the conference that’s smart enough to not bite on the back even for half a second) then he could work some magic with John Parker. I liked what I saw with A-Day, and not to praise the enemy too much, but it really reminded me of the way Al Borges turned Jason Campbell into a first round draft pick. It’s amazing what happens when you take a kid that’s struggled, and then essentially wipe out half the playing field from the equation so he can focus on what’s direclty in front of him and give him easy reads and throws to the best playmaker(s) on the team. Wilson might not be the most talented QB to ever play at Alabama, but he’s shown flashes of being someone that can be productive and make good decisions if given the chance. O-line struggles and a lack of a consistent ground game didn’t help him in ’06, and those same troubles coupled with far greater responsibilites in a more complex offense sank him in ’07, but after a full year plus an extra spring and fall in this offense and a play caller that is willing to tailor his calls to Wilson’s abilities instead of trying to fit him into the offense whether he gets it or not should hopefully see him living up to his potential. (Roll Bama Roll)
“Awww, come on guys, it’s so simple maybe you need a refresher course. It’s all ball bearings nowadays.” There’s been no secret that most of the offense this season will be the same as last season. And Wilson’s limitations as a QB–his inability to check down or even not stare at his receiver pre-snap–probably aren’t going away. All of the stories are there about how well Wilson is understanding the new offense and relating to the new staff, but Wilson is a fifth-year senior. The impetus is really on McElwain to grasp Wilson.
During the times last season when Wilson looked like the star we all wanted him to be, the play-calls were creative without being gimmicky and we had enough success on the ground to make the progression a bit unpredictable. Most games appeared as if we had a brilliant first act script full of drama and energy and then the screenwriter just ran out of ideas and decided “Eh, let’s just throw in a go-kart chase and call it a day.” Pretty much how I expect Lost to wrap up. If McElwain can maintain the momentum throughout the game that Applewhite managed to stir in the first quarter and often rediscovered deep in the fourth, I think Wilson is going to benefit more from an appearance standpoint than making any actual progress. The plays are there to have success and for Wilson to look good. McElwain’s ability to call them will be all the difference. (Third Saturday in Blogtober)
I really don’t see how it couldn’t be a positive for Ross’ brother (I am not referring to him by any other name until he earns it). He looked pretty bad at the end of the season last year with the first quarter of the bowl game as the exception. If McElwain’s history is any indication then there should be significant improvement in Ross’ Brother’s play this season. He had a relatively good sophomore campaign and I believe that his confidence was just shaken last season. Let’s face it, he is never going to make huge plays with his arm but he is capable of not getting the team in trouble and getting the ball to the playmakers. A good coordinator- and I believe that McElwain is- should be able to help him do that. (Picture Me Rollin’)
2) We’ve all felt the excitement of landing this studly freshmen class on signing day, but what expectations should we have once they all land in Tuscaloosa?
Expectations? Relative to what? Why would you ask a question like that? I’m not into setting expectations. Aight. That’s your job. What i want to see is the freshmen come in, go to class and do the right things to better themselves as students and football players. (Capstone Report)
Alabama fans with reasonable expectations? C’mon…
While this freshman class is perhaps the best in over a decade at Alabama, keep in mind; they are still freshmen. That said, expect several to start on opening day, and further, expect to see Julio Jones prove he’s ready for the SEC right now. It’ll be another year or two before we’re truly up to strength, but we will from time to time next season, see flashes of what’s to come. (Picture Me Rollin’)
We should expect them to be amazing in terms of what we’ve seen on the field for the last few years. They aren’t going to fully grasp the playbook immediately, and they are going to make rookie mistakes and plenty of them, but they are going to make them far more athletically than the guys before them. The Tide is replacing slow veterans with dynamic inexperience and I expect the gap to be less significant than most expect. Will they dominate right away? Certainly not, but neither did the players they replace. Does anyone doubt that Mark Barron will be significantly better on day one than Marcus Carter? The front seven in Saban’s defense is very assignment-heavy which leads to a lot of mental errors for players that aren’t comfortable in it, but did anyone actually look comfortable with their assignments last season? The worst that can happen for the incoming freshmen will be a failure to generate a pass-rush, but their predecessors didn’t do that either. What we can expect from them is no drop-off from the guys they replace (no offense, Wallace), and much better recovery when they make mistakes. (Third Saturday in Blogtober)
3) What were your initial thoughts of the somewhat split job of Defensive Coordinator? Have they changed since then, or are they still the same?
Kevin Steele is being groomed for a head coaching job. Adding the title of Associate Head Coach allows Saban to keep him on board, and take advantage of Steele’s talents one more year, while preparing Kirby Smart to take over after Steele’s departure. All told, Alabama’s defense is in good hands, both now and for the future. (Alabama Gameday)
A moot point. Saban runs the defense and pretty much everyone knows it. One needs only to watch him on the sidelines furiously giving out signals to know it’s his show when the other team has the ball. (Will Heath)
my initial thoughts?? titles, shmitles. hell my title has the word “manager” in it, and i can barely “manage” to not get fired. this is all pr nonsense to make/keep various people happy and in tuscaloosa. very little will change in terms of scheme b/c nothing happens on the defensive side of the ball without the saban’s stamp of approval anyway. (Uncle Rico’s Time Machine)
I was surprised by the move, mostly because Saban isn’t one to fight to hang onto his coaches, which was the explicit reason for this move with Kirby Smart. Will his role change? Not in any tangible way, I would think. Saban has never made any bones about whose defense this really is. Here’s a hint: it wasn’t Kevin Steele’s. Smart and Steele might now be in some sort of inner sanctum where Saban trains them in the ways of the Dark Side head coach, but I doubt there will be any recognizable shift in responsibilities. The real shift will be in the quality of their respective next jobs. (Third Saturday in Blogtober)
4) In your eyes, who needs to step up the most in a position of depth concern?
I actually discussed this right after the Auburn loss in November: the biggest issue for Alabama, bigger than the offense, bigger than the secondary, is toughness up front defensively. Auburn imposed its will on Alabama with its front — and I’ll reiterate what I said in that LJ post: whether it’s offseason training, replacing personnel or merely a change in attitude, Alabama simply must be better at stopping the run. Otherwise, prepare to be average for another season. (Will Heath)
We will have to solidify the linebacking corps. The Jimmy Johns Project® is not going to be the solution to our depth problems, so we can expect someone to be thrown to the lions early this year. (Alabama Gameday)
I can’t think of a position that doesn’t need help. (Capstone Report)
for very obvious reasons, linebacker is a position of concern for me. its almost comical (but not really) how quickly this position evaporated right out from under the tide. given that i’m pretty confident in what bama will get out of rolando mcclain, i’m going to say jimmy johns. he has a lot to learn given in terms of scheme and techniques given the shift from rb to lb. however, so far i’ve heard nothing but good things, and as i senior i have no doubt he wants to go out on the highest possible note. (Uncle Rico’s Time Machine)
5) We’ve all heard the talk of this possibly being Mal Moore’s last season as Athletic Director. What will his legacy be when it is all said and done?
Really, if the Saban experience turns out like we think it will, that’s his legacy. All the fund raising and improved facilities are nothing without wins, and after some bungling in the hiring process landing Nick Saban is what he’s going to be remembered for plain and simple. (Roll Bama Roll)
I have often said that Moore will be remembered as a great brick-and-mortar AD. As far as getting us into the 21st Century with our facilities, and not just football facilities, he has been a great AD. I believe that is the legacy he leaves. (Picture Me Rollin’)
Mal’s legacy? Asking people for money. All those athletic amenities on campus, plus the hiring of Nick Saban will be Mal’s legacy. Hiring Saban could be the pinnacle of Mal’s career. It could finally be the transition of Alabama from the past into the future. I compare the hiring to Alabama’s decision to hire Frank Thomas. Bringing in an outsider to update the team. If it works, then Mal will deserve a statue of his own. (Capstone Report)
6) Other than Georgia, what non-Alabama SEC team impresses you the most? (because everyone would normally answer UGA)
*It appears we have some Nutt lovers out there, but we do have other picks*
as long as tim tebow is on the field, florida is a threat to win the whole damn thing…but that answer isn’t any fun. instead i’m going to go with a sleeper pick and say ole miss. with jevan snead finally stepping in at qb and seemingly provided stability at that position the rebels have lacked since eli left. they will also be unveiling highly touted rb enrique davis who originally signed with auburn. more importantly they now have sneaky ass houston nutt running the show. if ever there was a used car salesman who could make something out of nothing, its this guy. at the very least, the rebels will be much more fun to watch than they have been in recent memory. (Uncle Rico’s Time Machine)
In all honesty, we give the nod to Mississippi State. Sly Croom has slowly, steadily gotten this team to believe. He’s cut out the cancerous elements, instilled a sense of unity and pride in his team, and is doing more with less than anyone in the league. Will the other Bulldogs compete for the SEC title? Probably not; but even so, we’re impressed. (Alabama Gameday)
Honestly, the team I fear the most is Auburn. That sounds strange, of course, but the situation at Auburn right now is exactly the sort Tuberville likes — his team is basically being ignored by media both nationally and in-state, they have enough talent to dominate people on defense … and no one has any idea what they’ll look like in the fall because of the coordinator changes. Also, the schedule sets up for them nicely: two weak non-conference games before a trip to Starkville and then coming home to face LSU ( and the final score there could be 2-0).
Of course, if Tony Franklin’s offense struggles out of the gate, this could all play out very differently. At the moment, the War Eagles are the team that terrifies me most. Other than Georgia, of course. (Will Heath)
Weirdly, I’m going to say Ole Miss. They scare the crap out of me with Nutt on the sideline, if only because his brand of crazy is nothing compared to the Orgeron’s and is therefor worth at least one or two extra wins per season on improved decision making alone. Remember kids, we’ve beaten the Rebels on the last play of the game three years in a row now and could have very easily lost all of them, while they pushed Florida, Georgia, and LSU to the brink as well. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that Jevan Snead is an actual quarterback, not a Delta State transfer or a scat back that can kinda sorta throw like the two headed QB Orgeron was using, and he has talent at wide receiver to throw to as well. McCluster and Hodges could probably start anywhere else in the league, Mico McSwain can develop into a threat as well, and in the backfield BenJarvus Green-Ellis is one of the most underrated backs in the whole conference [ed. – Green-Ellis has graduated. I’m an idiot.]. The pieces are there for them to come out of nowhere just like Mississippi State did last season and lock up a bowl bid on the scalps of some of the bigger programs, and I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if Nutt pulled it off in his first year in Oxford. (Roll Bama Roll)