Crimson Tide sends shockwaves through the SEC with big win …again

ITKIt’s become a common theme each year under Nick Saban. Bama is back..again…and anyone wanting to dethrone Dixie’s Football Pride best start hitting their knees.

The football gods weren’t hearing it last Saturday. Prayers sent from places like Lee County, Knoxville and Baton Rouge fell on deaf ears. Partially because there is no such thing as football gods, partially because reality weighed too heavy for the fantasy of Bama’s rivals.

The man so many had prayed would be a bust at Alabama.
The man so many had prayed would be a bust at Alabama.
The Crimson Tide is, again, for real.

Bama did everything it could to help the Florida Gators on Saturday, but still smashed the once proud Gators by three touchdowns. Only Nick Saban’s mercy late in the fourth period kept it from being four.

The prayers of Bama haters have centered in part on the quarterback position. “Please let Blake Sims beat out Jake Coker.” Tabbed by the media and fans as the second coming of Joe Namath, Coker’s inability to win the job would obviously indicate a sudden drop off at the game’s most important offensive position at the Capstone. Right? Well, those prayers were answered…in part.

But be careful what you pray for, haters.

This guy is pretty good.
This guy is pretty good.
All Blake Sims did Saturday was etch his name in the Tide record books. His 335 yard first half was the second most in a half behind Greg McElroy’s 339 yards on Nov. 26, 2010 against Auburn. He finished with 445 total yards through the air on the day, also second in Bama history for most yards in a single game behind Scott Hunter’s 484-yard performance against Auburn on Nov. 29, 1969.

Oh, and his 445 yards didn’t come against San Jose State. It was Will Muschamp’s Unversity of Florida.

In short, Blake Sims wasn’t just a man, he was THE man. Alabama hasn’t had a quarterback like Sims in my lifetime. He’s mobile, with explosive bursts of speed when he needs it, coupled with a cannon for an arm when it’s time to use it. Oh, and pin-point accuracy? Check.

The other prayer? Please let Bama’s defense not be up to snuff. Well, sorry again, haters.

So is this guy.
So is this guy.
If Alabama doesn’t help you in 2014, you won’t have much of a chance. And even if they do, you still won’t have much of a chance. The Gators could manage just 200 yards of offense and two touchdowns on Saturday, both coming on a short field after turnovers. The Bama defense has yielded just three TD’s this season.

In head coach Nick Saban’s 98-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has limited opponents to under 300 yards of total offense 63 times, or 64.3 percent of the time. This year the Tide has held three of four opponents below 300 yards (Florida: 200 yards, Southern Miss: 263 yards, Florida Atlantic: 145 yards).

Okay, so Bama has found a passing game…a dang potent one, the likes that hasn’t been seen in T-Town in handfuls of decades. And so the defense is as stingy as ever. But at least the Tide’s running game isn’t what it once was, right?

Wrong. Late in the game Bama did what Bama does: Wear down an opponent in the trenches, pushing them around like little girls while grown men like Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon eat their lunches. Henry would finish the day with 111 yards on the ground, marking the first time the Tide has had a 400+ yard passer (445, Sims), a 200+ yard receiver (201, Cooper) and a 100+ yard rusher.

Perhaps the biggest surprise this season isn’t that big a surprise at all. Those who had buried Lane Kiffin among his myriad of personal miscues and mistakes in his young career are seeing the Tide’s playcaller rising from the grave like a damn zombie. The state of Alabama does indeed have a mastermind when it comes to offensive design and playcalling, and his offense has nothing to do with bush-league tactics like snapping the ball before an opponent is ready.

And this guy too.
And this guy too.
No, Alabama’s legion of offensive specialists in the hands of Lane Kiffin is downright scary, and the Jonathon Crompton-like job he’s doing on Blake Sims is enough to make any rival fan sit up and say “Oh, $#%@.”

And the scariest part: With the regular season a third of the way gone, Bama has zero significant injuries to speak of, and hasn’t come close to playing its best game. With paper Tiger SEC West foes LSU and Auburn showing early indications of predictable drop-off (and were we really surprised about Auburn?), Alabama looks poised to contend for it all yet again..you know, a little something called sustained success––a foreign substance in places like Lee County, Athens and Baton Rouge.

Maybe the best news is that our quarterback doesn’t sound like this:

The Tide’s off week sets up perfectly for what will be a challenging October: A stretch that includes trips to Oxford, Fayettville and Knoxville, with a visit from that peculiar bunch from College Station. Then another off week before LSU positions the Tide for the final run to glory…a run where it appears the toughest out will be Mississippi State.

Indeed, the season is still young, but you can bet no one in Tuscaloosa has lost any sleep over what they’ve seen so far this year. Unless, that is, you count loss of sleep from downright giddiness.


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

27 Comments

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  1. 1
    nope

    It’s always fun to see fundamental football look so good, isn’t it? People want to forget, but perhaps Alabama won’t let them forget what college football is supposed to be.

    Ball control issues were gross, and every single one of Florida’s points were scored off those turnovers.

    And for all the greatness from Kiffin and Saban throughout the game, it’s worth noting the deliberate choice to keep Alabama’s kicker off the field for that final fourth-down field goal opportunity. It was a classy move, and completely understated. There were at least three games over the weekend with 60+ victory margins where the head coaches said earlier in the week they “wouldn’t run the score up.” I guess you can’t teach class, but you can learn from it.

    Like West Virginia, I’m confused and intrigued by Florida after playing Alabama. At times they looked good. Both Alabama and Florida have had better defenses than offenses lately it seems, but I didn’t expect Alabama to have the kind of offensive performance they’re having so far this season. Florida got in a veritable bus crash last year—-everyone was hurt. I expected more this season, a lot more, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they’re not where I thought they would be. For what it’s worth, Alabama improved on offense this year the way I honestly expected Florida would instead.

    I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Blake Sims is Alabama’s quarterback, and the entire team, while not flawless by any stretch, looks about as complete and competitive as any in the country.

    No, Florida isn’t Alabama’s toughest competition on the season. And yes, Alabama still has a lot to improve on and I still don’t think it’s entirely likely that Alabama wins out in 2014. But the potential is there and moreso than I expected at this point in the season.

  2. 2
    WhoreEagle

    Being at the game, I was impressed with Blake Sims. I’m actually happy for him…the kid has worked hard during the off-season.

    There was one article about him working with a quarterback coach during spring break, instead of going to the beach. He wanted it, and he earned the starting job.

    Cheech Marshall and Jameis Winston could learn a few things from this kid… Hard Work, Personal Responsibility, and Sacrifice. (instead of smoking dope, stealing, and sexual assault on women….Cheech and Jameis are a CLASSY bunch!)

    • 3
      nope

      Excellent point, Whore Eagle. The time Blake Sims spent training instead of taking time off is exactly the kind of story that I love about college football, and it’s consequently underexposed.

      Not to discount Sims (I’m a big fan of Sims, personally), but regarding the same for Coker, he’s also working his butt off. Don’t forget, Jacob Coker has already graduated. He’s got nothing but time to learn the in’s and out’s of the system from some of the best in the sport. If nothing else, he looked improved in his drive against Florida when Sims was being checked for injury and Coker got the football to the end zone.

      I digress; I expected Sims to surprise everyone.

      What I didn’t expect was Sims to surprise everyone so quickly and in such a big way.

      Alabama always has a turnover game each season it seems like—-MSU in 2014 (4, win), Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl (4 or 5? loss), TAMU in 2013 (4? loss), even Kent State. Fumbles happen, interceptions happen, but they can’t happen 4 times every game for a team to win a title, at least not in the SEC. History at least points to it not being a trend, but only time will tell. In the meantime, Alabama is in the best position they could be in, and they absolutely control their destiny to the playoff.

  3. 4
    64leland

    I haven’t seen an Alabama quarterback on fire like that in a long time. He was throwing darts the entire game, deep balls on the money, across the middle in stride, rolling out to the sidelines, just on the money. And if Coop had pulled off that one catch where he got turned around in coverage, Sims would have had close to 500 yards for the game. He still has some things to work on, he missed on a couple of throws, and probably shouldn’t have thrown the pass that was tipped and intercepted. After watching the replay, the receiver wasn’t really open anyway, should have tossed it out of bounds and moved on to the next play. But the good thing is that he will learn from those things, and this game should shoot his confidence throught the roof. I look forward to seeing how he progresses from here.

    And if he never throws another completion, I would rather have him as our quarterback than that clown in Tallahassee or that idiot in Auburn.

  4. 5
    crimson hammah

    where’s the profit in making 21 and giving back 21…sims better get his act together or like saban said his horrible game mgt will be a loss against a more complete team

  5. 6
    Hunter Ford

    Sims made one mistake that got him chewed out by Saban…the botched handoff… The worst aspect of Bama’s game vs Fla was costly turnovers and offensive penalties…mostly false starts…. Alabama can’t do that and not have it cost them a game at some point and false starts should be something rare after four games…

    I think Sims had the performance of the century for an Alabama QB…. and Coker was ready when he was called on…. Can’t afford to not correct mistakes, but I feel great about our offense, our WRS, or RBS and our QBS all plural O-line doing pretty good OJ got a couple of catches in… Defense played better…

    Sims overall was amazing and I just don’t see where he deserves the level of criticism Hammah is giving Sims is clearly the “starter” and I can foresee Coker continuing to get some playing time…RTR

  6. 7
    crimson hammah

    sims boneheads…pick 6 …fumble…no running game no check offs …aj got us in the right play not run vs 8 in box in first half…5 men in backfield qb over sight…slides runs out of bounds both short of first down…poor throws on rollouts…game tied 21 in 3rd while we dominating on both sides of ball b/c of sims…. bad rhythm bad communicaton because of sims per saban …when he plays bad we will go with coker per saban

  7. 19
    crimson hammah

    saban said what i said…” i don’t care how many yards we get if we give them 21 points off turnovers …14 sims””

  8. 20
    peachy

    Its nice to be hyped up about a win but lets not pretend this was a good team they beat. They were taken to OT just the week before at home against Kentucky. Florida is 6-9 the last two seasons and the wins have came against Kentucky (twice and one was 2-10), 5-7 Tennessee, 3-9 Arkansas, Toledo and Eastern Michigan. The fact that the game was even close for awhile is ridiculous.

    Eventually Alabama will play someone with a pulse. They may be great. Cant tell right now though based on the competition.

    • 22
      pete4tide

      So, Florida was “the” team to give Bama fits, right up to the point that they didn’t. You barners have GOT to get on the same page with each other. Either Florida was the team that was going to “test” Bama’s QB, corners, RBs, etc., or they weren’t. They can’t be one thing prior to the game, and something else afterward.
      The only way Florida even stayed in the game was because Bama tried their best to give it to them. Barn better hope that’s what happens in November, otherwise Cheech and the boys will have a rough day.

    • 24
      pete4tide

      Thanks, Eeyore. Go get your sheets off the line – they’re probably dry by now. Hard to get that smoke smell out of them, though.

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