This week the Crimson & White Roundtable previews the Alabama Crimson Tide vs. South Carolina Gamecocks football game. My answers to this week’s questions are below:
1. Did the decisive win over Florida answer all the questions about this Alabama team? Why or why not?
The win over Florida was a definitive statement about this Alabama football team and the state of the program. However, there remain questions. How will this team compete against lesser opponents? Will a Tennessee repeat itself? What about this year’s lack of concentration in the first half of Arkansas? As Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said, this game Saturday against South Carolina is an important step in defining this year’s team. Of course, every week is that critical step. Following the impressive victory over Florida, how will Alabama handle its own greatness? What is most impressive about Saban and this Alabama team is that the players say the right things. So while not every question was answered by Florida, Alabama fans must feel happier about the defense and offense. Now comes the question about attitude and commitment. Those questions will be answered during this critical stretch of October.
2. What is the biggest concern going into the game with South Carolina next Saturday?
The biggest concern going into the game is that SEC road games are tough. Alabama doesn’t play a creampuff schedule. Just about any SEC team is talented enough to beat you if you fail to protect the football or make other mistakes. As for the South Carolina team, my biggest fear is that Steve Spurrier might actually stop being a dumbass and do the right things to win—run the ball and play action passing. He has a great back, but he is obsessed with throwing the ball in an era when his passing game is a shadow of Bobby Petrino’s sophisticated offense.
3. Should we expect the running game to have the kind of success it did last year against the Gamecocks?
The running game will be good. I don’t expect it to be as good because the Alabama passing game will be better this year.
4. Last year someone should have told Steve Spurrier the end zone fade wasn’t going to work. What piece of advice should someone give the Old Ball Coach this year?
Dear Steve Spurrier, stop being an idiot with your quarterbacks. Garcia is a decent quarterback that is being asked to do too many things by Spurrier. He makes plays, but also makes some bad plays. Spurrier cannot seem to learn that quarterbacks make mistakes and if you bitch and moan about it then you create problems in growing the QB into the role. This is no longer 1990; it is 2010. Spurrier doesn’t seem to understand that as he runs his program. He is a brilliant offensive mind, but his own brilliance has clouded his ability to develop quarterbacks—the most important position on the field. Bryant liked to say the quarterback is another coach on the field. Spurrier’s treatment of his “on-the-field coach” is more akin to a destructive relationship than one that facilitates excellence. Spurrier needs to change to reach the next level in the SEC. I’m not holding my breath.