Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year. It seems odd to say, but I am glad the season is over. It was long and exhausting, and Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™m not the only one exhausted by it.
Letâ€™s hope the recruiting season and spring practice provides upgrades to how the offensive line and defensive line plays in 2008. Much of the offensive problems were related to protection issuesâ€”see the Tennessee game, because if J.P. Wilson has time to throw, he will make the throws. I still believe much of the heat on Wilson this season was unwarranted.
I agree some of his decisions were bad. But every player makes mistakes. What hurts is when the others around you arenâ€™t doing their jobs. I think you could see offensive line issues even more glaringly when we ran (or failed to run) the ball.
The J.P. Wilson issues was covered in a Cecil Hurt column this week. Hurt asks the question if 2008 will be the year of Wilson at the helm, or could he be supplanted.
Hurt provides a great analogy to explain Wilsonâ€™s inconsistencies:
The second, and more overlooked, possibility is that he will improve as the team improves around him. At times, this simple analogy seemed appropriate. Suppose you have someone who can lift 400 pounds. Lifting that much weight is impressive, and if you ask that person to lift 350 pounds, he will look smooth doing it. But if you ask him to lift 500 pounds, he will strain and struggle and not always be successful. There were times this season when Wilson was asked to shoulder a 500-pound load for the UA offense this season. The running game wasnâ€™t consistent. The offensive line was shuffled by textbook issues and injuries. If those areas improve, Wilson wonâ€™t be asked to carry so much of the burden and he will look better because of it.
As for defense, we will need to replace Gilberry and improve the pressure generated by the linemen in 2008. Letâ€™s see how it all unfolds.
Speaking of Gilberry, he joins Simeon Castille and DJ Hall at the Senior Bowl on Jan. 26, according to the Press-Register.
On to the items of note:
The Birmingham News provides a recruiting piece in the Thursday morning edition. The News explains that relationships are key in Nick Sabanâ€™s recruiting philosophy. The News also provides a judgment that Sabanâ€™s philosophy seems to be working:
With 26 nonbinding oral commitments, Alabama is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation by Scout.com and Rivals.com a month before the Feb. 6 signing day. The staff has done most of the work thanks to two major recruiting weekends.
The article even provides a description of a typical recruiting visit.