I just had a few thoughts on the game that I needed to get down on "paper" before my head explodes, and what better way to do that than to offer it up to The Process faithful for their opinions. Here goes:
1) Brad Smelley is not very good as an H-back. This was made evident in our first offensive play from scrimmage when he basically ran though the 4 hole as a lead block for Ingram. The play is beautifully set up, especially for the first play of the game, and it appears that Smelley and Ingram are running free for at least 15-20 yards, but 5 yards into the run and with no one to block, Smelley quits on the play and essentially tackles Ingram, who wasn't very excited about this decision. Smelley continued to look lost throughout the first half, but by the second half I was one too many Killian's in the hole to look for this pattern to continue.
2) One difference that I loved about Mac, as opposed to JPW, was the fact that when he looks off his primary receiver, his first instinct isn't to give a souveneir to the 10 row, but it's to run the ball for whatever yards he can gain. Now, this may have been a jittery coincidence for the first game for Mac, as McElwain has historically taught his QBs (Brandstater at Fresno and JPW) to get rid of the ball in the face of adversity, but hopefully this is just one of Mac's weapons he can offer the Tide this year.
3) Saban has a ton of confidence in this D. This was very evident in his decision to go for 2 very early in the 4th quarter. Some coaches have the "When to go for 2" spreadsheet on hand, and some just have it memorized, but neither will tell you to go for 2 in that situation. Also, Saban isn't what doctors would call a "risk taker", so this was simply a decision based on the fact that our D wasn't giving up another TD. Jumping into Saban's mind for a moment, he was thinking: If we make it, we're up 7, so that gives us a tie in the unlikely event that my damn kickoff coverage falls asleep again. However if we don't make it, we're still up 5 and we'll just have to win this one by 5 and not cover the spread.
Now unfortunately, Saban wasn't omniscient enough to forsee the most blatant "hold" non-call anyone has ever seen which lead to VT's only "legit" TD of the game, so obviously more points were scored, but this call spoke volumes to me in how "pleased and happy" he is with our D.
4) Upchurch is an absolute animal! That is all.
5) Got real excited about how our 4th string RB (Richardson) decided he was not going to settle for 1 and 2 yard carries, but figured he'd go ahead and muscle out 5 more each time just because he could. Bright future in our offensive backfield.
6) Not too thrilled about the Wild Tide formation. From what I'm hearing, Star is supposed to be running it, but was out with the flu, so hopefully this was a patchwork formation that we saw.
7) I loved the Pistol Formations that we ran. Hope we keep that up.
8) VT is a very stout team, and I feel that they held their own in a game that could have very easily been 45-10. I wish them the best, and honestly feel that they could rule the ACC this year.
9) I heart Colin Peek.
10) Running Backs did a great job of pass protection. It was so good at times that you never really noticed that our O-line missed multiple assignment on a consistent basis. I'm very worried about our O-line this year.
Honorable mentions included Mark Barron's good performance, 9 in the box and bringing the house, Tyrod is one fast mofo, losing the toss, WTF Mclain, really? 5 FG attempts, and While You do the Math I'm Doing the Alfredo.
Feel free to add, subtract, or multipy from anything you see on this list, or just tell me I'm a moron. Everyone have a good one. RTR!