Preview: FSU vs. Alabama

Sidenotes before looking at some game preview stories, Dennis Franchione charged $1,200 per year to select boosters for inside information about the football team, according to the San Antonio Express-News. According to the Express-News, “In the newsletter, called “VIP Connection,” Franchione discussed player injuries in detail and offered sometimes-critical assessments of his players.”

The worst thing about throwing alcohol at games is that it hits people. The best thing about throwing alcohol is that it once hit Dr. Sorenson. For a look at alcohol at Alabama games, here’s a piece by Winston Groom in the Press-Register.

On to the game preview items:

The most important thing to watch this week as #22 Alabama Crimson Tide plays FSU is how the team responds to the overtime loss. Coach Nick Saban said the team’s preparation work leading up to the Georgia game was bad—maybe the team was still looking at the last second Arkansas win. Will the team be able to put the Georgia loss behind them. It becomes a very important indicator for the future of the team. A win here and a nice season with a good foundation for the future is underway.

Alabama’s rushing defense has surrendered a lot of yards on the ground. That remains a concern, especially after Georgia gained 153-yards rushing. I’m not going to even mention what Arkansas did. Needless to say, giving up that many yards on the ground requires our own offense to post a few points.

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Putting up points will come down to the quarterbacks for both teams. And they both have similar stories at this time. FSU’s Drew Weatherford four touchdown passes and one interception with an anemic completion percentage of 54 percent. Numbers that are very similar to Wilson (check out a link below for a good piece on Wilson’s slow start).
What worries me about this game? It is easier to win with a good defense and a mediocre offense (FSU) than a good offense and a mediocre defense (Alabama?) But so far, I’ve just seen a mediocre offense and a mediocre defense for Alabama. That worries me.

Alabama thrives in no huddle
Ian Rapoport writing in the Birmingham News explores why Alabama’s offense seems best when running out of time. Here’s the analysis of John Parker Wilson from the article: In the two-minute offense – used “to create a little different intensity,” Saban said – “John Parker has done a good job.” In base, non-fast-paced sets, “John Parker needs to settle down, take what the defense gives him.”

The really shocking number from the article is that nine SEC quarterbacks have a better completion percentage than Wilson. The article is very good, and provides some thoughts from people like D.J. Hall on what is happening. It is much better than listening to some of the rubes calling in on talk radio asking for the second or third string quarterbacks to be put into the game.

FSU Defense searching for its identity
In the Clemson game, FSU charted 31 missed tackles. That dropped to only nine in the FSU win over Colorado. FSU Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said in this article (read it below) that defense is all about tackling. “It is not a secret. If you want to play great defense, finish. Finish on the receiver. Finish on the quarterback. Finish on the ballcarrier.” For FSU to have any chance at a win, the defense must contain Alabama’s offense.

A couple of notes from the article: D.J. Hall should have a five-inch height advantage over FSU corner Tony Carter. Two starting defensive linemen did not practice for FSU this week while nursing injuries.