Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Lost" Wednesday: roundtable that I just made up myself

Much like Michael Dawson from "Lost," I've grown tired of waiting for someone else to initiate the search for my son a Crimson & White Roundtable. And if you think I just posted that as an excuse to use this, you're soooo right.

Yeah, that's me.
Therefore, in an effort to renew last season's magic with the Roundtable — even though I've never considered myself part of the Bamasphere — I'm making up some questions for myself and then answering them. It's sort of like a columnist's form of schizophrenia. And if some of the other blogs read it and wish to join in, so much the better. Also, please feel free to leave your own comments at the bottom, as always.

Onward, then ...
1. What aspect of the game did Alabama control that shocked you the most? What aspect of the game was Alabama dominated in that shocked you the most?
"Shocked" probably isn't the right word, but as I said in Sunday's post, for this team to play as poorly as it did and still win going away is a pretty good indicator for the rest of the season (hard to believe we'll be this bad again this season). Looking deeper into the postgame stats, our offense rushed for over 250 yards, and that's with 38 yards coming off because of sacks. That's pretty impressive, particularly against a good defense like VT's.
As for BEING dominated ... um, that kickoff coverage has GOT to improve. And I mean now. Well-coached teams don't get beat on special teams. Period.

2. What are your feelings on Alabama's current position in the polls? Are we overrated? Underrated? Just right?
I'm afraid to answer this question after my cousin-in-law Jamie texted (text'd?) me after the game saying "I would bet even money on 'Bama playing for the title." I think he's attempting a jinx. But I can't say for sure.

3. What are your thoughts on the high-profile opener?
I posed this question to myself only because the older gentleman next to me started saying during the debacle of the first half that THIS is exactly why he favors playing directional schools early in the season, over higher-ranked teams that can immediately take us out of the running for a title.
And I understand the logic — the '92 team played Southern Miss, Tulane and La. Tech on its way to a championship (USM nearly beat us, for the record). Those games are necessary learning experiences for the squad.
On the other hand, the Alabama teams of yore — from coach Bryant's days all the way through the 1980s — always played big out-of-conference matchups, usually early in the season. A look through the historical schedules reveals matchups against Southern Cal, Nebraska and so forth. So I'm all in favor of playing as many tough games as possible — to me, those games help much more than they hurt.
(But I DEFINITELY respect the team we're playing this week! And if you don't that's your problem! You're a common fan! And it's your fault common fans feel that way!)

4. What do you think about our ranking?
I'm terrified to answer this question after my cousin-in-law Jamie (an Aub) sent me the following text:
I would bet even money on 'Bama playing for the title.

I think that's a jinx. I think.

5. Name the most important player to the team on offense. And on defense.
With respect to Julio Jones, I'm going with Mark Ingram on offense. He's the back we'll most likely ride if we're going to achieve greatness this fall — the dude just has no handles.
Defensively, McClain has to be the pick. He's now in the position for '09 that Rashad Johnson was in for '08 — calling defenses and positioning some of his teammates. He's not quite the physical freak Dont'a Hightower is, but he's imposing enough.
One other wrinkle: because Nick Saban has more of the athletes on his defense this year, he's more willing to bring his trademark blitzes in big spots. And because his defenders understand his schemes (finally), the blitzes are confusing to the opposition — on multiple occasions Saturday (including the fourth-down that iced the game), 'Bama rushers ran free at Tyrod Taylor, with puzzled VT linemen standing at the line of scrimmage, blocking no one.
Personally? I think notice has been served. Again.

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