1. How did you watch the game, and why?
I watched from home. My daughter had a commitment that evening and I wasn’t 100% sure I could get her back for it if we went. So I watched from the ‘ole homestead. I wanted to be there, but 91,000 of my closest friends took up my slack for me.
2. Who stood out most on offense, be it for good or bad reasons?
I think the consensus is that A.J. McCarron made his deposit on his (and Bama’s) future in Tuscaloosa. His arm is monstrous, but he also possesses the finesse and accuracy to drop it where it has to be, as you saw on the touchdown pass to Richardson. He throws a ball similar to Brodie Croyle, but unlike Brodie has a legitimate supporting cast around him. He, Sims and even Jackson are the backbone (for the future) of the best QB talent we’ve ever had there at one time.
Other offensive notables were the usual suspects…not sure how many schools let their Heisman winner go at it full-speed in a spring game, but Ingram looked in mid-season form. Trent is just ridiculous, possibly the strongest running back we’ve ever had. The right tackle spot concerns me at the moment. Fluker is enormous but needs to improve on his footwork. But he or any of our offensive line won’t face a defense better than what they saw on Saturday. I liked that we didn’t think we had to “camouflage” anyone from our competitors on national television. When you’re not afraid, you don’t have to.
3. Same question for the defense.
Courtney Upshaw was everywhere, and looks to have gotten bigger. Dareus is unblockable. The only way you beat him is getting the ball away from him as fast as possible. He’s as fast as he is big. When God designed cornerbacks, He undoubtedly used Dre Kirkpatrick’s body as a mold.
But overall, what impressed me most was the sheer size of our defense. Like others, I had watched some of the Abarn A-Day game beforehand…when ESPN2 finally went to it from its coverage of a high school lacrosse game (true story). By comparison (because it was the only other college team I saw on Saturday), their defensive starting unit looked like a college defense. Ours looked like the pro-bowl defense representing the NFC. And deep into the game, when they were throwing in their scout team for late game action, Bama’s scrubs looked like Abarn’s starters.
Someone said it before: Nick Saban recruited well while he was at LSU, but never this good. One of the joys of watching this upcoming season will be watching our “weakness”, the defense. By the time we reach October, this unit may be better than last year’s squad. There is that much depth, talent and ability on that side of the ball.
4. Did A-Day make you feel better or worse about our chances for a repeat in 2010?
I’ll echo Coach Saban in that we are not “defending” our national championship next season. Last year is ours to keep and savor in the Bryant Museum until the end of time. But can this team make it to Arizona and win another one?
First you must ask, who from the SEC West is going to keep Alabama from getting to Atlanta? There is not a single school from the West that can beat this Alabama team. I understand the “six teams having off weeks before us” issue, and believe me, it is an issue. Anyone who says it isn’t is (a.) biased, (b.) ignorant or (c.) both. But all an off week does for the SEC West teams against this Alabama team is possibly make the games closer. The Arkansas game is the scariest of the bunch. LSU will be a tough game, but the hat will prove yet again he can’t win there without a foundation laid by Nick Saban.
And the Iron Bowl is in Tuscaloosa so it’s doubtful that anyone from “The Fambly” can orchestrate game day chaos and/or delay, keeping Bama’s bus from arriving at the stadium by an hour. Saban’s dislike for API only grew with that fiasco last November, and as a result the only chaos taking place this year will involve Bama’s defense shutting the dipsy-do offense down, you know, like it did for over 3-quarters of last year’s game. Whoever their QB is, by mid-third quarter he’ll look like Jordan Jefferson on the sidelines.
Then, who from the East will make it to Atlanta? I think it will be Florida again as Georgia and South Carolina continue their spiral. Tennessee’s stupidity has placed itself on its own make-shift probation. Urban Meyer is smart enough though to field a totally new challenge to defend. Getting past them will be more difficult than in 2009.
Then nationally, who will contend in 2010? As usual, a handful will find their way into the conversation by late October, but Alabama will definitely be among them. There are others with great talent, but there is no team with better size, talent, speed, game planning and preparation than this team. Last Saturday, Alabama could have played any of its opponents from 2009 and won. This team is stacked.
5. With the long dark of the offseason finally upon us, what’s your favorite coping mechanism?
You know, back when we sucked, it used to be playing EA Sports’ NCAA Football, recreating the pitiful season we just had or visualizing something better for the upcoming season. Kids and work demands prevent that kind of time anymore. Now I guess it’s coming on here and tangling with the aubsessed fambly who live on this an other Bama sites. That fact continues to amaze me. Every day that passes in my life is another day in which I have NEVER typed a URL address to go to an Abarn website to engage a barner. That they continue to come to us here illuminates their infinite insecurity and little school syndrome. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Abarn is a D-1AA school with a big stadium. That’s it.
The bigger mechanism though is my family. Alabama football is a passion of mine, and you might even say a hobby. But it is just an element of my life, not my life. If you have family who loves you, you’ve got a treasure that wins and losses can’t take away. Tell them…or better yet, show them…as often as you can how much they mean to you. And don’t let them go to Abarn or UcheaT. 🙂 Roll Tide!