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The Crimson and White Roundtable: Hotty Toddy and Such


Tide Druid is hosting a truncated version of the roundtable this week since idle didn't really offer up much in the way of discussion concerning this past week's game.  So without further ado:

What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are we Overrated? Underrated? Just right?

Even though I bumped us up to #1 in my BlogPoll ballot because of shameless homerism I didn't think we deserved to be jumped for no other reason than having a bye week while everyone else faltered, you can certainly make a case that our not moving up was warranted and that Texas deserves the #1 spot ahead of us.  We didn't do anything to deserve to move up really (idle will do that for you), and since we didn't fall we can't act like remaining at #2 while Texas moves ahead is a "punishment."  And honestly, Texas probably has the (slightly) better resume at this point in the season.  Their big win over OU and our big win over UGA are a push, we both beat Arkansas, and their dominating wins over UTEP and FAU are comparable to our blowout wins over what has turned out to be a pretty craptacular Clemson and WKU.  Where they get the edge is where, while we struggled against Tulane and Kentucky, they continued their domination throughout the season with sizable margins against Colorado and Rice. As for the coaches, at least they finally decided to move us to #2 (though they didn't really have much choice, thank you LSU and Missouri), so now that we are in the top two in both polls, so long as we take care of business and keep playing up to our abilities then there shouldn't be any cause for concern by the end of the season. 

Kentucky’s Defensive Line gave Alabama an afternoon of problems. Considering that Ole Miss is said to have a better D-Line, is there a cause for concern, or our we just over-reacting to a tired team’s performance?

Having had the extra time a bye week affords to think over the Kentucky performance, I'm actually a little bit more comfortable about the line than I was last week.  It seems like a lot of the consistent pressure they were able to get on Wilson was a result of their coverage downfield.  McElwain has really helped Wilson relative to his understanding of the importance of getting the ball out quickly and his pocket presence, and there have been plenty of times that a defender has gotten into the backfield (generally off of an edge rush) but Wilson has already gotten the pass off or is rolling away from the blitzer.  For the most part we've had guys getting open very quickly (another function of the dink and dunk approach), but UK was probably the best defense we had faced yet and they took away a lot of what we do in the passing game; Lindley [and the refs...zing!] did a great job bottling up Julio and, with McCoy out, no one else was really able to step up and create the kind of seperation that he does.  Walker was, for the most part, completely absent from the offense as well; he caught two passes, but the only one where he was really open was a third and short where he ran a relatively deep route that caught the Kentucky D playing the run/short pass, while the rest of the day they kept him blanketed and unable to really make anything happen.  I don't think Ole Miss will be able to do that nearly as effectively as UK did.  The Rebels are near the bottom of the league in every defensive category (and dead last in passing, compared to UK who currently rank 4th), and when it all comes down to it their defense is their defensive line.  Without a secondary to keep our guys from getting open and getting open quickly (and with Greg Hardy apparently a shadow of his former self these days), we should be able to control their pass rush enough to be effective through the air again.  Besides, we ran the ball right down their throats the whole game, and Ole Miss's linebackers aren't quite as good as Kentucky's, so even if the passing game doesn't quite click, Coffee, Ingram, and Upchurch will be more than happy to just pound the ball for 60 minutes.

...if all else fails...

What part of Alabama’s team concerns you against Ole Miss? Likewise, what aspect of the game should Alabama control?

The consistency issue always concerns me, and having the bye week to get complacent doesn't really help matters.  Let's remember (oh how I wish we didn't have to) that we followed up the battering of Tennessee last year with a bye week and then a four game skid that saw us go from Western Division contender to Shreveport bound (and lucky to be, too).  I don't think this team has the same sort of internal issues that last year's team did, but Ole Miss is a dangerous enough team that if we come out flat all this "should we be #1 or #2 in the polls talk" won't be what we're discussing in next week's roundtable.

As for what we should control, no one has been able to stop our ground game so far, and I seriously doubt this is the week that it happens.  Ole Miss is ninth in the league in run defense, giving up 112.7 yards per game (while Alabama is giving up 50.8 and gaining 226.3).  The only two teams that haven't rushed for 100 yards or more against them were 1AA's Samford and South Carolina, the SEC's worst rushing offense, so if we can't pile up some big yardage on the ground I'll be shocked.