Defense

By Shane from Centerpoint
Regardless of the early negative shots taken at the University of Alabama football program by nationally known odds maker, Danny Sheridan, the Crimson Tide stands as good a chance as any team in the nation of having a championship season. This strong statement is based on one phase of Bama’s game – Nick Saban’s favorite – the defense.

Sheridan apparently has little respect for coach Nick Saban and his staff. With his prediction of a 7-5 season, he apparently doesn’t have any faith in the players. Is this the same guy who claimed that fired Texas A&M coach, Dennis Franchione could’ve led Bama to a national championship. Danny, you were joking, right?

Maybe Sheridan knows something I don’t about some bizarre injuries that will occur, or that Alabama’s defense isn’t going to be one of the nations best by mid-season. By the way Danny, no offensive touchdowns have been scored on the Tide this year. The “red-zone” has been the “dead zone” for Tide opponents. Yes, I know it’s only two games, but no TD’s in eight quarters of football is pretty impressive in this modern era, especially with rules designed to enhance an offenses scoring output.

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I know this is an old, worn-out cliché, but I guess guys like Sheridan need to hear it again. Offense brings the fans to the game – defense wins them.

Admittedly, the Crimson Tide’s stop unit is young. However, there are early signs beginning to emerge that indicate Bama’s ready to play at the aggressive, relentless level required to dominate an offense and severely limit their output.

All the hype before the opener was about the Tide offense and the talented newcomers. In reality, the best football is being played on the other side of the ball.

Alabama defenders have “the look” in their eye and are playing with the intensity that made former Crimson Tide stop units famous. If the geniuses like Danny Sheridan would take an hour to review the previous two game films, they would have to admit that this group could be special.

Don’t the media gurus know that the longer a defense goes without allowing a score, the more confident they become? Additionally, Saban, Steele, and Smart are all defensive specialists. These three guys can match wits with any offensive staff in the country.

The real horror of former coach Mike Shula’s tenure at the Capstone is the huge void of talent he left on the defensive side of Alabama’s football program. Sheridan’s boy Fran didn’t help much either because he loved offense too. Neither coach heavily recruited the best talent for their defenses.

Since Nick Saban’s arrival the entire “offense first” philosophy present through Fran, Price and Shula has begun to fade, and the defensive mind-set that great coaches like Bryant and Stallings used to win championships is starting to take shape.

Sheridan must’ve missed the influx of new talent and the difference that a year makes for the players who are trying to execute Saban’s complex defense. Nick has a keen eye for spotting fantastic players and preparing them to carry out his pressure style-defensive philosophy. It’s quickly becoming evident in this second year of the process that most of the players understand Saban’s system.

Actually, there is a fine line between Sheridan’s picking Alabama to go 7-5, and my assertion in the pre-season that Bama would go 10-3 after a quality bowl victory. I believe that the Crimson Tide’s defense is good enough to make a difference in the 3-victory divide that lies between my assessments of Alabama’s win-loss record compared to the all-knowing Danny Sheridan. We’ll see who’s right in the end.