Yesterday hurt, no two ways about it. I am a Junior at the University of Alabama, meaning yesterday's humbling experience in Columbia was the first regular season loss of my time as a student. However, this was nothing like losing to Florida (Tebow) in the 2008 SEC Championship. Luckily enough, if we had to lose a game this season, which I knew we would at some point, this was the game to lose. Mostly because Carolina is in the East and we still control our own destiny within the division, conference, and even nationally.
What happened yesterday is we simply went away from our identity. Greg McElroy should never be expected to throw 34 times, not to mention getting sacked 7 times with a few positive running plays, meaning we totaled nearly 50 passing plays. That is not Alabama football. That is not Saban Football.
Mark Ingram having only 11 carries is a crime. Not having a running play in the last 14 minutes of a game is mind blowing.
We lost the game when we decided to not take the points, making it a four point game and we instead went for a fake field goal with roughly 10 minutes to go. Think Arkansas '07,'10. We've always taken the points when we needed it and trusted our defense to give our guys another shot. If the score is 28-24 and #12,#22,#8 have an opportunity to win the game with two-three minutes left, I'm betting on the Crimson Tide every time.
Moving forward, this loss I believe is a blessing in disguise. When nearly 85 percent of those that contribute to the team have never lost a game, sometimes the tearing into by Saban and company eventually runs dry and they need a physical, concrete example of what happens when you roll into a stadium and an opponent wants it more than you.
(Hopefully) we will see a very hungry Tide down the stretch and luckily our schedule sets up nicely for a resurgence towards the top. Ole Miss and Tennessee are not push overs, but we can get back into our game of effecting the quarterback while forcing turnovers and pounding the football towards victory. LSU on the road scares the ever living daylights out of me because somehow someway Les Miles is so stupid that he makes you look stupid in certain situations and Randle and Tolliver are match up nightmares. And Auburn, seriously Cam Newton is the truth no doubt about it, passing and rushing for 200 yards is nuts, but they needed a last second field goal to beat Kentucky, yeah, Kentucky. No way the WAREAGLETIGERKITTENS come in and beat the Crimson Tide in Bryant-Denny.
Moving forward, I realize I am a 20-year old kid and have no say in what coaches who make loads of cash doing what they do best, but I do have some suggestions to what yesterday showed us.
The coaching staff needs to do something with Donta Hightower. The kid is great at rushing the quarterback, but simply takes plays off when he's not. He can not cover the middle which is killing us in single coverage down the sideline. If Lester is able to help Dre or Milliner down the field, 2 of those touchdowns turn into in completions or even interceptions. More Nico Johnson please.
If you don't know it by now, Trent Richardson is hurt folks. He walks around in a boot Sunday-Friday and gears up Saturday. We have a Heisman trophy winner sitting out way too much. I simply don't understand.
Our offensive, we need to stop trying to bubble screen our way to the endzone. We only have Julio Jones for a maximum of 8 more games, you have to trust him that he's going to come down with it more times than not. Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson did just that with Tolliiver last night and even Newton with Adams, and of course Garcia with Jeffrey. Greg needs to be less smart and start taking some chances so we can really open up our offense.
Lastly, if you're a bandwagon fan or new to Alabama football, please don't start saying "Oh, Greg sucks" "Mark Ingram isn't as good anymore" and all that. I lived in Auburn as a die-hard Alabama fan for 15 years before starting school in 2008, so needless to say I have thick skin when it comes to loses and not to mention the trash talking from opposing fans. Don't let it bother you, it's simply impossible to win every regular season game for three straight seasons, a lot of good will come of this. The fans need to bring it like they never have before when the Rebels come in town this weekend, don't forget the fans having a positive impact on the program is still a huge part of the process.