Shane: Crimson Tide in the hunt

By Shane from Centerpoint
After we watched this year’s version of the Alabama Crimson Tide perform in the 2009 season opener one thing is certain – this team can make multiple (normally fatal) mistakes, easily overcome them, and recover quickly to pound their opponent into the turf. Eventually, the Tide offense hammered on a stout Virginia Tech defense until they submitted in the fourth quarter to what should be called the “Elephant Stomp”.

In fact, by the second half the re-vamped Alabama offensive line adjusted well to the first-half confusion created by one of America’s finest defensive minds, Bud Foster, and allowed running backs Mark Ingram and Roy Upchurch to ram the pigskin straight down the Hokies’ throats for the entire fourth quarter.

First time starter Greg McElroy shook off a freshman-like first half, and sliced VA Tech’s defensive backfield to pieces in the second like a seasoned veteran.

Kudos to Coach Nick Saban for starting the season against a top-ten ranked opponent in front of a national audience. In doing so, Saban tossed his new quarterback directly into the spotlight on opening day. McElroy handled his debut well.

By the way, if anybody is interested in knowing how tough Nick Saban’s defense will be, you can just ask Tech’s quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Alabama shut him down. Future opponents can count on an upcoming encounter with one of the biggest, fastest stop–units in the nation.

Sure, Alabama made too many errors, even for the first game. Still, it is hard to find fault when you look at the numbers: Alabama’s offense held the ball for almost 40 minutes, gained nearly 500 yards., and racked up 34 points.

Meanwhile, the defense set the tone for this year’s campaign by allowing VA Tech only 155 yds. of total offense. Honestly, most teams are going to have difficulty this year moving the football against the Tide.

Overall, the proof-in-the-pudding was more than evident last Saturday night. As this team improves in the next few weeks while playing in a couple of glorified scrimmages it will be a formidable force in the national title hunt.

Apparently Nick Saban has the right idea when it comes to scheduling a top-ten ranked non-conference opponent; and by winning the game he shows the pollsters that he will play anybody anytime in order to gain a foothold in the race for the national crown.

There is no doubt that winning an opener and beating an opponent like Virginia Tech will gain the respect of coaches around the country. Besides, the media loves it.

As is always true, time will tell the complete story about this year’s Tide squad. But, it is easy to see that they are tremendously talented and deep. In three short years Coach Saban is putting a product on the field that matches the “traditional” expectations of the Crimson Empire.

He has Alabama fans looking forward to the next big game. His team reflects the confidence level that Saban exudes every day. The players are lock–step in tune with his leadership on the field.

As evidenced by Saturday night’s relentless performance, this 2009 team is on a mission. Adversity does not seem to affect their momentum, nor do they seem to fold when the heat is on.

That fourth quarter in the Georgia Dome was an overwhelming display of dominance that made huge strides toward establishing this team’s identity as a unit that is going to attack its opponent for 60 minutes.

Virginia Tech quit after 45 minutes. The intense pressure applied by Saban’s troops cracked the Hokies, and in the end broke their backs.

How good is this team going to be? We’ll see! However, we do know this: if you come to play the Crimson Tide you’d better be ready. Forget the playbook. Alabama can beat you with superior size, speed, strength and talent. That is a mark of a great football program.

Finally, let there be no doubt, Saturday’s victory propelled Alabama to a place where they belong – in the hunt for the BCS national championship.
—Shane writes a weekly column for the Call News and the Capstone Report.

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Add Yours
  1. 1

    A great test against a top 10 opponent to start the season is what big time programs are about. I expect to see some cow college fans come on here and make their usual low brow comments, but their insecurities about the state of their program compared to what Saban is building at the University is evident in everyone of their lame attempts. We know the cow college will defend their decision to cower away from playing UCLA in the Chick-Fil-A kickoff game, but even they know deep down that the Barn is not a national draw and is a non-story. Welcome back to irrelevance and being little brother.

  2. 2

    I was impressed with Auburn’s victory. Their offense ran up about 500 yards — that’s not too shabby.

    Bama played a sloppy game, but they have more raw athletic talent than I have seen on a Crimson Tide squad since the 1990’s. Once this squad settles in and gels as a team, they will become formidable.


  3. 3

    Congrats to Saban and the rest of the team for breaking the 2 game losing streak. A win was huge considering that the team last year did everything they could do to get to the SEC championship and then choke. What a bummer. But hey, they at least got to go to the prestigious Sugar Bowl, but damnit , they lost again. Lets put our hands together and celebrate another foot forward to a perfect season and hope that the fans dont cause a meltdown, per Saban, at the end of the year. 3 cheers for the university of beating women. Maybe they will give Upshaw a statue next to Wimp and Dubose. Peace out.

  4. 4

    Bama is a very good football team, but any thing can happen just ask Oklahoma. If McElroy gets hurt we are in trouble and
    will be like in 04 when Croyle got hurt and the season when down the tubes after that!! All the backup qb’s have no experience and Star Jackson scores the piss out of me causing
    turnovers. Sorry to rain on the great victory against the hokies,
    but you never know whats going to happen the next day or year!! ROLL TIDE FOLKS!!

  5. 6
    Auburn is a joke the fan formerly known as Ballplay Indian

    Bama in in the hunt no doubt. Im glad that Chokelahoma is done . At least they had the courtesey to do it at the begining of the season instead of the end. Good second half for Auburn and Bama. VT had no run game at all. Well , no passing game either. But they had a solid defense that Alabama just flat wore out. Be proud of your teams performance. I still say that VT defense would be average in the SEC. Thats still good.

  6. 7
    Ty from T-town

    It is, what it is:

    Shane, I was forced to watch the Bama game at the Pink Pony; so I don’t know what to think until I have a chance to watch the replay.

    The one thing that I do know.
    The collection of Bama fans were vocal and nervous as expected.
    The Florida fans, most definitely made their presence known.
    They were the ones that didn’t have the common courtesy to take a bath or even replace their dirty T-shirts before going out to dinner.
    You know; that kind of shit doesn’t phase me a bit, but the fact they mistakenly think that the score at half-time necessarily constitutes the outcome, is beyond me.
    Just for the record Gaytor Guys.
    I would not have taken your money, if you had scraped-up proper footwear and had not been such a bunch of ass-holes.
    Its just one win.
    It is what it is.

  7. 8
    The BAMMER From St. Clair

    YO! “TY from T-TOWN,” you’re right, IT IS WHAT IT IS, and yes, its just one win. What impressed this BAMMER is that when our beloved team stared ADVERSITY in its face they ADAPTED and OVERCAME. I LOVED the way Roy Upchurch RAN OVER opposing defenders. I LOVED the blocking the O-Line provided for Mark Ingram. I LOVED that AWESOME D. Some work needs to be done in ALL PHASES of the game, offense, defense and special teams but ALL IN ALL, I SEE the POTENTIAL of this group. THIS COULD BE A VERY SPECIAL TEAM.

  8. 9
    Auburn is a joke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian

    Its hard to know just how good any team looks in week #1…I thought BYU wouldve won with or withour the Bradford injusry. Does that mean BYU is the stuff ? No. They got the brakes beat off em last year by UCLA if memory serves correctly.

    VT may be a good team. Clemson was supposed to have been great in week one last year. Bama killed them. Clemson sucked . Bama went on to win the west and nearly the SEC and National Championship. I guess Im saying its impossible to know what kind of team we have until about three or four games in and against decent teams.

  9. 10

    Yea Maybe when SEC play kicks off when can get a Gauge.. I know we did good alot of yards and all but I dont think no team in the state could have beat Florida or Texas Satuday….JMO

  10. 12

    Auburn is a joke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian – How in the hell can you say Bama nearly won the natinal championship game last year? News flash they didn’t even play in the national championship game! Bama fans as much as any others should know the first game isn’t any more important than the last two.

  11. 13
    Auburn is a joke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian

    Ill tell you how reality check……If they beat Florida, wich I know they did NOT beat Florida, They play Oklahoma in the Nat. Champ. That my friend is an automatic “W”……Make sense now….Utah would have beat the brakes off of Okie….They sucked then , and still suck now.

  12. 14

    Omni I agree with what you said, along with Ball play. I think it is impossible to get a good read on any team until at least 4 or 5 games into the season.

    Saying that though I believe all teams in the SEC showed fairly well. VT is a good team if for no other reason but their coaching staff. La Tech is no push over and Oklahoma St. is certainly better than average.

    I guess I was the most disappointed with Georgia, and the most surprised by Tennessee. But things have a way of correcting themselves fairly quick in the SEC, especially if you have a good team.

    All the teams that won ran up big numbers both running and passing, and did a fair job on defense. As we get into conference play those numbers will tend to level off or prove to be what is to be expected.

    Again there is really no way of knowing until we play a few conference games and see how the numbers game match then. I would have to say that most everyone that posts on here has a reason to be proud of what their team did last Saturday. Will that be true as the season unfolds? Only time will tell.


  13. 15


    1)Alabama finally beats the ACC champion

    2)Auburn finally beats an 8-5 bowl winner

    3)Ole Miss beats a 6-6 Memphis team, despite themselves

    4)Arkansas beats the shit out of a 4-7 Missouri State team

    5)Miss State beats the brakes off a 7-5 high school team

    6)LSU STRUGGLES against 0-12 bottom dweller

    Thems the facts. Also TN played a 2-10 Western Kentucky team. The only SEC teams that played anybody worth mentioning are Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and maybe S. Carolina.

  14. 16
    mike wilkerson

    Shane, All I can say-I am sick of your ad nauseum time on the Finebaum show….how you get so much time on that show is beyond intelligence….well, this is Alabama , I guess.

  15. 17

    Mike I couldn’t agree more as far as shane is concerned. Who ever made him the spokesman, author and finisher of all things crimson is beyond me.

    I have heard finebaum, shane and others mention him being finebaum’s brother-in-law, but I don’t know if that is true. He has something though that finebaum REALLY likes or he wouldn’t continue to allow him the time he does.

    This is true as well for all of the so-called regulars to the show, i.e. jim from tuscaloosa, i-man, and I would even put charles of reel town in that group. I have started to just turn the program off when any of them are on lately.

    For some reason finebaum, I really believe, thinks that these are the back bone of his program. As bad as I hate to say it, Bobby was a much better caller than any of those mentioned above. If he could have learned to be a little more objective, instead of all pro auburn, he would IMO been the best caller on the show, but I haven’t heard him lately.

    Whatever paper it is that runs shane’s column must indeed be in trouble for writers. I have said for some time now that I was going to stop posting on here, but I feel as long as this nut is given the freedom he has someone must try to bring a little reason to it.

    It is one thing to voice an opinion, but quite another to take a stance that you are the only one that knows anything. In some ways I want to believe finebaum just uses them for whatever mileage he can get from them, but then he allows an idiot like jim to go off on whom ever he wishes is another.

    I hope that some day someone will start another sport talk show in the same time slot as this one, with some quality people involved and dish out to these guys some of their on medicine. Most Bama and Auburn folks know the real finebaum. He will ride whatever horse he can to get to the water. He is a born, raised, graduated Tennessee man, and thats all there is to it. The more crap he can keep stirred up inside the entire state of Alabama the better for his team.

    If I were Saban or Chizik I wouldn’t give him the time of day let alone invite him into my home. He is a crap stirrer and shane plays right into his hand, along with the others mentioned.

  16. 18

    Interesting article from the New York Times……..

    Florida Coach Urban Meyer, who has all but perfected the spread with the Gators after giving it prominence at Utah, has been asked for advice from at least four N.F.L. teams, including the New England Patriots. “I think it would have worked years ago,” Meyer said. “No one has had enough — I don’t want to say courage — no one has wanted to step across that line. Everyone runs the same offense in the N.F.L. A lot of those coaches are retreads. They get fired in Minnesota, they go to St. Louis. They get fired in St. Louis and go to San Diego. I guess what gets lost in the shuffle is your objective is to go win the game. If it’s going to help you win the game, then you should run the spread.”

  17. 19

    “I guess what gets lost in the shuffle is your objective is to go win the game. If it’s going to help you win the game, then you should run the spread.”

    Did you catch that, Shane????????

  18. 20

    Aurox, I can answer that, no he didn’t and wont, because its outside his realm of thought. It has to be simple and explained, sorta like bagging ice.

  19. 21

    Carl, what did you think of my “fair and objective” SEC West standings? I don’t in any way think it will stay in that order, but those teams’ performance relative (Saban’s favorite word) to 1st week opponent was on the money.

  20. 23

    iceman shane do you think nicky will

    be able to keep his thugs on the field this year? mcclain will be taken out by a major injury very soon now. real soon when leroy mcelroy rolls to his right he will go down for the count.

  21. 24

    yeah I thought you were dead on, but I like think we all agree, not much is learned from one game, but then again you have to start somewhere.

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