Preview: The Process Part II

2008 pre-season Alabama Crimson Tide outlook
By Shane from Centerpoint
It is that time of year again. This column will take a look at this year’s version of the Alabama football team and give those who are interested a little insight about what they can expect to see when the Crimson Tide takes the field.

The first position I’ll cover is perhaps the most important position on an SEC football team. Yes, you guessed right. It is the quarterback. John Parker Wilson begins his final season as the starter. After spending two seasons facing the toughest defenses in America and now getting new guidance from a competent instructor, John Parker is primed to lead the Crimson Tide to a stellar season. In my opinion quarterback play makes or breaks a football team’s success in the SEC. If you look back on last year’s record, John Parker’s errors crippled his team’s chances when crunch time hit. I believe this year Wilson will make big plays instead of mistakes.

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Next, since I feel that it is second in importance only to the quarterback, I’ll focus on the offensive line. Is there any better than Andre Smith? Maybe Antoine Caldwell! With these “future” first-round picks leading the way, Bama’s front wall will be formidable. With Mike Johnson and Marlon Davis entering their third year, along with quality depth (a total of 8-10 good linemen) and experience at all positions, the offensive line can carry this team. I am convinced that they can handle any defense that SEC defensive coordinators can throw at them. Alabama has the best front five on offense in the nation – hands down.

The wide-receiver corps is loaded and, with the influx of outstanding talent that will arrive in August, stands to be as good as any group of wide-outs in the SEC. Mike McCoy and Earl Alexander will provide size, while Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze will display precision and speed. All four have great hands. Brandon Gipson and Chris Jackson might push for playing time, but there are a couple of true freshmen – Julio Jones and B.J. Scott – who could possibly play early and often. Jones has the bigger reputation, but Scott may be the best pure-athlete in the nation. This is a dangerous pair. Oh, and don’t forget the wild card, Nikita Stover. He is the Tide’s deep threat.

Under Offense Coordinator McElwain, John Parker Wilson will have another weapon in his arsenal. The tight ends, especially future all-SEC player Nick Walker, are going to be featured more often in McElwain’s scheme. Georgia Tech transfer Colin Peek is going to surprise SEC defenders with his size and speed and, if Bama needs to stack the line to run, Travis McCall can block as well as any tight end in the conference.

Speaking of the running game, Alabama hasn’t had an All-American since Shaun Alexander. A healthy Terry Grant is the next-in-line with a chance to reach that elite status. His sports hernia halted a 1500-yard season last year. Grant is as fast as I’ve seen in a Tide uniform. Standing right beside him is Glen Coffee, a solid back in every phase of the game – especially pass blocking. Roy Upchurch offers solid back-up to Grant and Coffee. The anticipated arrival of incoming freshman, Mark Ingram, may provide the Tide with a game-breaking running back. Another “big” back that can help the short yardage game is Jeramie Griffin.

On the defensive side of the ball Alabama will be much better than last year, simply because they will have had sufficient time to learn Saban’s complex defense. Quality depth at key positions will allow several very good players to excel due to rotation.

Kareem Jackson and Rolando McClain are shining examples of what a Nick Saban defensive player looks like. Both were freshmen All-SEC and will probably be All-Americans. There are several others who appear to meet those (Saban’s) high standards. Javier Arenas, Rashad Johnson, Cory Reamer, Brandon Deaderick, Bobby Greenwood and Jimmy Johns all have the potential to be outstanding players.

I will not mention any other names in my discussion on the defensive side of the ball because they have yet to produce anything that resembles a traditional Crimson Tide defense. However, I am relieved that Saban has the ability to return Alabama to the point where they have a dominant defense.

Along those lines – if Saban, Kevin Steele and Kirby Smart can get the defense to play more consistent – Alabama could be a very good football team.

The kicking game leaves much to be desired. Leigh Tiffin is a good place-kicker and will be an asset to the team. However, he will have some competition for the job from Corey Smith, a scholarship player from Bunker Hill, West Virginia. P. J. Fitzgerald seems to be a decent punter, but like Tiffin, has yet to show that he can be one of the best.

Saban’s second season (The Process-Part II) will be much different than his first (which is always a transition year). I see this Alabama team as having a championship-caliber offense, with a defense that is constantly improving as Saban upgrades the personnel and the players adapt to his system. A tenacious, relentless personality will begin to develop, perhaps surfacing as early as the Clemson game.

How far will they go this year? I predict at least nine wins. I also know that “injury bad-luck” is such a major controlling factor in determining the success or failure of a season. I also have a gut-feeling that John Parker Wilson is going to have a great season.

Could the Crimson Tide win the SEC West this year? Neither Auburn nor LSU has a quarterback who has survived a season in the toughest conference in the land. We all know what happens to rookie signal-callers in the SEC. I can’t say whether Bama will win the West and make an appearance in Atlanta, but I will say quarterback-performance will determine which team gets there. As a result, Alabama may have the advantage over its main western rivals from that standpoint. This is going to be an interesting season.

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37 Comments

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  1. 1
    julio

    Shane, I agree with you on one point. As JPW’s season goes, so goes Bama’s. It’s possible he’ll suddenly put it all together for his senior year like Jason Campbell did. Then again, he might keep on suckin’ just like Reggie Ball did at Ga Tech. The suprising thing to me about JPW is he that seems to have gotten worse rather than better the more he has played. Hard to believe a first year coordinator is going to turn him around that dramatically, but I guess folks said the same thing about Campbell and Al Borges. Sounds pretty ridiculous to mention Jason Campbell and JPW in the same sentence, though.

    Gettin’ pretty generous with those All American awards, ain’t ya? Terry Grant? You gotta be kiddin me. You do know that All American means one of the best two or three in the country at the position, right?

  2. 2
    sixdownnow7

    Once a Shane always a Shane. Alabama with out a doubt will be the best 7-5 team in the country.

  3. 4
    Kevin

    Seriously, Cappy, how can you continue to publish the drivel that this head injury victim puts out?

  4. 6
    m johnson

    Yawn Another season, another article from “Shane for brains” promising big things for the tide. He’s like a kid that thinks by repeating something over and over, evetually it will come true. Much like his opinion of Tony Franklin. It’s like he’s trying to convince himself that it was a bad hire for Auburn. If bammer’s new OC ever crawls out from under Dinky Saban’s thumb it’ll be a miracle.

  5. 7
    Phillip Marshall

    Excellent job Shane!
    Overall, I would give this column a grade of 85.
    1 Because you didnt mention the more manly aspects and leadership qualities of your Head Coach, Nick “the lying Bastard” $atan. Shane there was simply not enough words glorifying your stagnant impotent leader who cant seem to win more than one friggin SEC championship in 10 years. Or he goes off to the middle east and offends alot of the major news outlets with a stupid hand gesture and you have to rush in and save his ass (again) because apparently he thinks you are always going to be there with a warehouse of excuses to cover up his sublime stupidity and save his job!!! SOMETIMES YOU WANT TO GET HIM AT A PRESS CONFERENCE AND THROW TOMATOES AT HIM AND CALL HIM DALE GRIBBLE’S RETARDED REAL LIFE CLONE !!! DAMNIT I CANT TAKE MUCH MORE OF THIS SHIT!!!…. and…oh ….well… uh…..just disregard some of that…….
    2. I also took off points because you know that the mighty warrior scholars (of Auburn) will win every game for the next 50+ years and you failed to mention it.
    3 Otherwise I would say you are well on your way to your own recruiting site under the ESPN banner (like yours truly……Phillip Marhall).
    4. But you did manage to take a questionable picture and spin it to the positive. Keep trying kiddo! You’ll know its right when the whole Aubur..I mean Bama nation blogs back in total agreement.

    Did you know that Bo Jackson knows preparation H? Or that Phillp Marshall had to postpone his vacation to cover Tommy Tuberville’s dull witted behaviour again? You can read all these interesting stories and more in my upcomming book, “Auburn: An American Traditon (since 1960)”,
    Each copy cost $102.44 (ESPN) and if you order 2 or more, I might autograph one of them.

  6. 9
    FinebaumJunkie

    LMFAO,after reading this trash,I now know why your garbage is printed in the Western Star.I know Pauls is also there,but he has credability.You can only read about what a slimeball ed may is,or what a adulterer delo baumann is before they have to insert Bessemers version of Mary Worths Family,in other words,your stories suck moe than Linda Lovelace.

  7. 10
    Shanes Boyfriend

    Shanie-poo……quit dreaming out loud on this website and get your ass home and help me get these cinder blocks back up under our single-wide.

  8. 11
    Auburn77

    Tell us about your NCAA contact that says Colin will be eligible… I guess all the papers are wrong.

  9. 12
    CrimsonJim

    Hey, Auburn77. Re-read the article you referred to. Don’t count your chickens before…etc. Here’s an excerpt…

    A request to the NCAA by tight end Colin Peek for immediately eligibility was denied, Saban said. Peek would need a hardship waiver from the NCAA to play this year, rather than sit out a year like most transfers.

    But that doesn’t appear close to being the end of the story.

    Asked if Peek had heard from the NCAA, Saban said, “He did, but I think the family appealed it.”

    The transfer from Georgia Tech who left because new coach Paul Johnson eliminated his position, had planned to fight the NCAA so he’ll have more than one year to play for Alabama. Now, it’s happening.

    “It’s not final until it goes to the committee and all that,” Saban said.

  10. 13
    Amy4UA

    Goodness, the backwoods Barnies now appear to be somewhat “hypocritical” seeing how they furiously complain when he exposes, the many, Alabama Tech flaws, then when he writes an article strictly focusing on Alabama, they wanna, INFERIORLY, bash and trash him for doing just the opposite.

    Make up your minds, for Alabama Polytechnic Institutes’ sake!

  11. 14
    berman

    leave it up to barnies to bring up the most irrelevant and pointless arguments and contradictions. why not just stick with 6* in a row? oh, you can’t because you still feel ultra-inferior to us. that’s why we’re the flagship institute and you’ll forever be the second rate stepchild institute… i wonder how you guys feel after losing to us? thank god i won’t be in your guys shoes when that time comes on november 29. i bet suicide will be the number 1 cause of death in opelika after the 2008 iron bowl.

    count this as my signature:

  12. 15
    AUTiger

    Again, you guys need to win something before I will take you seriously. Just win… it’s really that simeple. Better yet, when’s the last time UAT beat Auburn at home? You guys are like the fat girl that keeps telling herself that the world is wrong and fat people are beautiful. Reality check: UAT hasn’t shown any evidence on the field that they are anything better than a .500 team, and saying that you are good over and over again won’t change that. Shane is living in some kind of fantasy land.

  13. 16
    BamaFanInNYC

    Realistically, Alabama IS looking at yet another 7-6 season. We’ll show potential and improvements, but our quarterback is not quite there, nor will he ever be.

    As far as you AUtards are concerned, you should be aware of the fact that the almighty Tuberedneck himself has had his share of close calls in the Iron Bowl, most notably the previous two meetings. Fumbles; dropped passes in the endzones; missed field goals. What if everything falls into place for Alabama next season? You know what that means? It basically means The Polytechnic Institute of Alabama will hear a Rammer Jammer from T-Town to down home in Lee County. Tuberedneck can’t afford to rely on our last minute mishaps to win the game, brainwashing his delusional fan base into thinking it was all him. Reality will be exposed soon enough.

  14. 17
    AUTiger

    If, if, if… yes, IF Auburn fumbles, drops passes in the endzone, and misses some field goals, UAT could possibly win, although it is statistically unlikley given past history against Auburn on Tuberville-Denney field. Of course, that’s a lot of “ifs” and conjecture. Again, all UAT has to do to shut up the Tiger contingent is win… but I notice you aren’t arguing that point. 🙂

  15. 18
    Shane is a BLOGGER

    Remember after Collette attacked Coach Saban at the Airport the battle cry was to dominate the state then the nation? Well after reading the comments this weekend from saban he has finally figured out that bama is not LSU. He said that BOTH Auburn and bama needed to be great every year to help make the Iron Bowl nationaly better. Ummmmm Something tells me he knows Auburn will stay strong for a long time. He broke Shane heart with his comments.

  16. 19
    Ballplay indian

    Do you even pay attention to what you are saying Shane? You are saying that JPW will be the factor to winning the west. How? It is remotely possible that he could have a Campbell type year , But lets look at what made Campbells senior year so special. 2 top 5 draft picks in his backfield. 3 NFL linemen on the front. 3 nfl wide recievers. The Tide aint got that to help the poor boy, so, HE AINT GONNA HAVE A CAMPBELL YEAR !!!! YALL AINT GONNA WIN THE WEST!!!!!!!! YOUR DEFENSE SUXXXX!!!! To all who read this article , remember it about halfway through the season, and then remember why we call you all deusional. FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD SHANE ACTS LIKE THIS IS 04 USC ON OFFENSE. LAY OFF THE CRACK PiPE PLEASE!!! And to say that a new QB cant fare well in the SEC? T. Martin anyone??? It anint likely but it aint impossible.. And yes Auburn will kick that A AGAIN.

  17. 21
    football fan

    Congratulations for another third grade reading level article. It was refreshing for you to come up with an article about your team and that you did not criticize another team.

    Try doing this twice in a row. Your constant criticism of other schools in the SEC really demonstrate what a complete idiot you appear to be

  18. 23
    Hamrick

    John Parker Wilson will be the determining factor on WHO gets to Atlanta, and I’m not just talking about Alabama. I personally don’t think he’s as bas as everyone depicts him out to be. Sure was the major factors in our key losses against Florida and Polytechnic in 2006, as well as LSU, MSU, and L-M in 2007, but two or three turnovers shouldn’t cost us the game, in some cases it’s natural, but not in every case.

    Predicting an 8-5 record is not far fetched, but purely realistic seeing how we have explosive talent lined up to play in 2008. As long as we can stay healthy, and out of trouble, we should avoid another late-season slide. We need to remain both confident and tenacious throughout the entire season, and refrain from losing the intensity midway through the season.

    The Alabama Polytechnic Institute down in Opelika will have their hearts broken into a gazillion pieces. Let the Polytechnic family precariously continue to claim number seven and such. As long as delusion doesn’t discourage them, that’s totally fine with me. Streaks are what they have lived for since the beginning of their existence. It’s all they have had to show for since day one, and when it’s over, they’ll have nothing. For what it’s worth: I’m very thankful I’m on the side that’s not winning the current battle, but is still winning the overall war. Take our weakness and run with it, but it only makes your team look even more pathetic than it actually is, stepchildren. The new slogan for the 2008 Iron Bowl will not be Got Seven? But instead, Got 39?

  19. 24
    AUTiger

    Good try Hamrick. It really must be painful for you guys. Somebody please look up “cognitive dissonance.” You guys are the personification of that term. Next?

  20. 25
    Shane is a BLOGGER

    rhYno,

    Take off your crimson glasses and read several of Shane sez BullCR– articles.

    Bear would roll over in his grave if someone like Shane made excuse after excuse after excuse for the the losses during his coaching career. I guess it takes the pressure off of saben.

  21. 26
    Ballplay indian

    Hamrick………Typical Alabama fan response. What you fail to realize is that the momentum in the WAR not the battle is shifting my friend. Yall are only 5 ahead in the series. If the trend continues like you knoe it will. We will be ahead in another 8-10 years. READ SLOWLY……..PROBATION IS NOT WHY WE ARE STOMPING YALLS BUTT…..STUPID DECISIONS BY THE ATHLETIC DEPT. AND BOSSTER/FANS ARE THE REASON. YOU JUST CANT HELP STUPID MAN. Weve heard it time after time excuxe after excuse coach after coach loss after loss. Yall just stlll dont get it . YOUR GREAT TRADITION JUST DOESNT WIN FOOTBALL GAMES. Auburn is the better program in the state. Face it and get over yourselves.

  22. 27
    TiderInsider

    http://www.wareaglehey.com

    http://www.theauburner.com

    http://www.opelikapolytechnicinstitutecowgirlsfootball.com

    http://www.nascar-barniesam.com

    I know reading comprehension is a major downside for all Barnies, but I did provide you guys with links (above) that will guide you to Barnie sites, just in case you didn’t know that The Opelika Polytechnic Institute could afford a domain name — and according to the first two sites, it seems Alabama is the primary talk of that town! Why am I not surprised? You bafoons have a problem with us contradicting your nonsense, however, there’s not a single care at all that every other sentence flowing from the Barnzoes mouths are Mommy, Daddy, Alabama!

    Stop polluting our sites, you nasty, trailer trash. Or could it be the end is near, and that’s why a select few of you are talking it up while the sun is still shining down on the manure?

  23. 28
    freaking genius

    tiderinsider, are you aware that there are actual SCHOOLS associated with these football programs? Well, there are. and the school known as Auburn University (u can call it Polytech, it really doesn’t bother us) has a larger enrollment and tougher entrance standards.

    You can tell that your “deep” connection to UA is a simple website subscription b/c your brilliance includes the use of “Barnies”, “Opelika Polytech”, “Barnzoes”, “trailer trash” and “manure”. And you TRULY BELIEVE that we are somehow bothered by your 2nd grade names.

    Now put your orange vest on… the work van will be picking you up anytime now.

  24. 29
    mike

    I love when you guys post these Aubie youtube videos in an attempt to prove something:)

    All I have to do is walk out on a job site and I can see all the Bammer humor that I need, BUT if you do not have that luxury….why don’t you look at the videos of the Bammers watching the IB in Geneva County. You know, the one where grandma’s ash from her cig is falling all over baby she’s holding. If you can’t find that one…just search for Bammer fans!! See, we all have redneck fans, but I don’t think any of you Bammers want to get into the argument of which one has the MOST redneck fanbase!!!

    Then again, I’m sure that if Auburn had lost to Bammer 6 IN A ROW or made back to back Shreveport trips…I would probably want to focus on something other than football too:)

    Good day-

  25. 30
    Ballplay indian

    TIDERINSIDER…….PLEASE ……..Stop it with the Yall know its fixin to end crap. It aint fixin to end . We will dominate your crappy football team and your overpaid coach again. And then again in 09. Then you necks will run him out of town on a rail. As far as a BAMMER calling Auburn a hick town that is about akin to Boy George calling Rambo a sissy. It just dont make any sense. So quit being a spastic and look at the facts. Fact is Auburn is a better town than Tuscaloosa, Auburn is a better university than Alabama, Auburn has a better football team than Alabamas. Til next time that is all..

  26. 32
    The Process

    I cannot wait for the “Process XI” post when the Tide will finally do something meaningful in the SEC ten years from now.

  27. 33
    pcrater

    Shane, I just stopped by to call you an idiot.

    Also, when writers use quotation marks around one word they are usually expressing a sense of irony. (Ex: Shane’s “intelligence” is often on display in his poorly-thought out columns)

    Your use of the words future and big, don’t indicate that.

  28. 34
    freaking genius

    pcrater:

    while i appreciate your effort, please remember that giving grammer lessons to shane is like opening an umbrella while you’re standing in a pool… it just won’t help.

    my goldfish is a better communicator than shane.

  29. 35
    DYESMONEYMAN

    I see more AUbsessed barners are following Shane around this week. I have never even visited a Barner site much less posted on one. You Wire Road rednecks do not even realize that you own yourself with every keystroke. Is there not an agricultural daily website you can post on?

  30. 36
    WillisMann

    Shane, you have to remember we had NO new incoming freshmen in the spring game. Minus the graduating seniors, it is the same cast of characters that went 7-6 and lost to Alabama Tech.

    We need to start about four redshirt freshmen, four in-coming freshmen, and play about eight more from both of those groups very heavily.

    Nothing wrong with Coach Saban’s coaching, but we are STILL thin as ice-water all over the field.

    I’m predicting an 8-5 record, but we’ll see.

  31. 37
    DFV

    “There are several others who appear to meet those (Saban’s) high standards. Javier Arenas, Rashad Johnson, Cory Reamer, Brandon Deaderick, Bobby Greenwood and Jimmy Johns all have the potential to be outstanding players.”

    I’d say JJ certainly meets those high standards…

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