Tuesday, July 8, 2008

it was a roundabout

Here's this week's C&W Roundtable, hosted by RBR. As always, I'm participating even though I don't consider myself a 'Bama blogger. Here's hoping I don't embarrass myself.

1. And the Valley Shook recently posted their thoughts on "Saban the Disciplinarian." As LSU partisans, they have a lot more experience with Coach Saban than we do, and I'm interested in your thoughts on why we feel like Saban is the man to restore discipline in Tuscaloosa.

I went round and round on this one, and I kept coming back to this -- because he's the head coach, which makes him the anointed savior of the program. Like most fans in the Southeast, Alabama fans, largely white, like to think of themselves as the underdogs, the little bitty boys who aren't particularly talented, get no respect from "the media" and are laughed at by the rest of the country ... but they work harder than everybody else, have a sage grandpa as their head coach and have "discipline," and that's why they win. It's why Alabama fans remember with fondness the teams from the 1960s -- Bryant's "little bitty quick boys" -- as their favorites (particularly the famed '66 team, which was so disrespected it couldn't even garner one national championship vote).
Very few people know this, but Bryant himself had very few off-the-field rules for much of his coaching tenure in Tuscaloosa. In the book "Turnaround," Tom Stoddard states that one of the first things Bryant did upon arriving at Alabama was to get rid of the curfew for football players. Pretty much, his attitude was, "If you can stay out all night and still give me what I want on the field, go ahead." And only the great ones -- like Namath and Stabler -- could actually cut it.
Which leads us back to why we as Tide fans believe in Saban as disciplinarian: we know he's going to recruit great players and then work the hell out of them. So how can they do that without "doing it the right way?"

2. And on that note, what's your gut instinct on any further arrests before the start of the season?

My gut instinct is that I'm terrified of answering that question. Like most SEC fans, I pretty much hold my breath from January until August, hoping that none of my guys show up in the news.

3. On a forward looking note, name the game you are most excited about this coming season and why.

At the risk of sounding cliched, I'll go with the trip to Athens in late September. I have a feeling this team is going to come on in the second half of the season, and a trip to face U(sic)GA may be the start of that. I don't anticipate a win, but I do anticipate our boys to give 'em hell.

4. What's the game you are dreading the most?

Like every even year, I dread the trip to Fayetteville. For whatever reason, strange things happen when your team goes to Arkansas. Just off the top of my head ...
  • 2000: Alabama, in one of many agonizing contests that resulted in the worst season of my life, plays a painful contest in which it dominates most of the night in a driving rainstorm, then eventually loses anyway on a late drive in which Arkansas converts two fourth-down attempts, one on a bizarre holding call against Marcus Spencer, another on an even more bizarre play in which Arkansas actually had 12 players on the field and nobody -- including Alabama's coaching staff -- noticed until Sunday.
  • 2001: Auburn, riding a wave of momentum after a midseason win over Florida, goes to Arkansas and fumbles about 60 times in a strange loss that includes Tommy Tuberville getting a 15-yard flag because the officials thought he was flipping them off.
  • 2002: Nick Saban's LSU team blows a chance at another SEC title when Matt Jones -- a great athlete but someone who wouldn't be considered a great thrower at any level -- somehow completes a 50-yard Hail Mary between three Bengal Tiger DBs.
  • 2006: In the game that started Mike Shula's slide towards his ultimate termination, Alabama dominates -- repeat: dominates -- Arkansas in Fayetteville, only to lose when freshman kicker Leigh Tiffin suffers a meltdown of epic proportions, missing three field goals and an extra point. Arkansas ultimately prevailed in overtime.
Suffice to say, I'm not excited about going back there, now or ever.

5. Finally, give me the dream play you want to see posted in YouTube form on every football blog this season involving the Crimson Tide.

John Parker Wilson kneeling at the end of the Auburn game, cradling the ball like a precious newborn, followed by Andre Smith flopping on top of him and making us all feel uncomfortable.
That clip would make my season.


1 comment:

whitheath said...

"Auburn fans are like slinkys... not really good for anything but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs." Saw this on the C&W Roundtable.....pretty hilarious. It would be better if it were Tennessee though.