...is being hosted by our good friends over at Third Saturday in Blogtober, so without further ado:
What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are we overrated? Underrated? Just right?
Last week I was satisfied with the #2 ranking in the AP while thinking the coaches were idiots/jealous mfers for having us at #4, but this week I'm flip flopping and going with the coaches. I dropped us to #4 in my blogpoll ballot behind OU, LSU, and Missouri because those teams haven't shown the kind of inconsistency that we have after 6 weeks, even if, judging on the merits of wins and accomplishments (defeated two top ten teams on the road, haven't trailed in a game yet, yadda yadda), we have them all beat
What aspect of the game did Alabama control that shocked you the most? What aspect of the game was Alabama dominated in that shocked you the most?
This is really going to answer both, I guess, but I was actually pretty shocked at how well we ran the ball considering the pass blocking issues that plagued the o-line all day. Coffee had a banner day, rushing for over 200 yards (and a solid 140 yards if you discount the one big TD run), and both Ingram and Upchurch were able to make solid gains on the ground as well, so that part of our offensive line is still intact, but the Kentucky defensive line had their way with them on passing downs, pressuring Wilson the whole game and generally giving him the worst game he's had since Tulane (and they got it done with corner blitzes that the backs didn't pick up while UK did it the brutal, old fashioned way). Weird as it is to say, the Wildcat front four were the best line we've seen so far this year, and it makes me nervous that we get Ole Miss, another team with a very solid and athletic d-line, next week. Thankfully, unlike UK's, the Rebel pass D leaves a lot to be desired.
...so many uncomfortable flashbacks...
Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.
On offense I'm going with Nick Walker. Coffee had the great day, clearly, but the three fumbles were just horrendous and two of them were caused entirely by poor technique (though, ironcially, it was the two he didn't lose), so I'll go with Walker instead. He only had two catches for 30 yards, but both grabs were clutch (the first should have been an INT but he fought the ball out of the defenders hands, and the second was a great 24 yard grab on a third and short play to continue a drive) and with as tight a game as we let that one get, without them we probably lose.
On defense, I don't know. McClain led the team in tackles, Kareem had a very fortuitous pick to kill a likely scoring drive, and Greenwood was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts, so any one of those guys would be a good choice, but I really feel like the entire defense deserves a lot of credit for the way they handled the Wildcats. Their two TDs were kind of bogus as far as "earned" scores go since they didn't have to put together a drive for them (the screen that got the first one should have been blown up but apparently a ref was in the way, and the late TD was a bad read by Johnson) and just kind of lucked into 14 points, and for the most part they couldn't get anything done all day. So the entire defense is my defensive player of the week.
We’re six games into the Process: Year 2, and the team has made vast improvements since last season. Who, in your opinion, has made the biggest jump since last year?
Javier Arenas and Marquis Johnson have both upped their game as corners, especially Johnson. He rarely saw the field last year (and when he did, Florida State won), but he's the third corner now and considering how much we use the nickel package, he gets a lot of time out there and is showing why he's getting those snaps. His improved technique and understanding of the defense really shows and we're a better pass D for it. Arenas has really come on as a corner, too, and it's especially surprising and gratifying considering he was barely recruited (Alabama and Florida International offered him) and was never considered anything more than a return specialist before Saban arrived. Word got out that he considered quitting the team because of his situation, but Saban talked him into staying and has coached him into a tremendous cover corner.
Profess your feelings for Jim McElwain. Prose, poetry, in song, or in any other way you see fit.
Well, since haiku seems to be so popular around here:
Major before you
Tore John Parker Wilson down
You have rebuilt him
...and God bless you for that, sir...