Yeah, I forgot to line up a host this week, so instead of throwing the last minute burden of coming up with questions this week on someone else, we'll just host again here. As always, any Bama bloggers (or Bama fans that have a blog) are welcome to participate, just make sure you e-mail us a link to your response to rollbamaroll -at- gmail.com so we'll know you played along at home. On to the questions.
1. And the Valley Shook recently posted their thoughts on "Saban the Disciplinarian." As LSU partisans, they have a lot more experience with Coach Saban than we do, and I'm interested in your thoughts on why we feel like Saban is the man to restore discipline in Tuscaloosa.
I'm cheating a little here, since I already answered in the comments of that post:
To go a little deeper, though, I'll add this thought. I've never been one to think that coaches should be baby sitters. Their job is to bring in the best talent they can and teach them to be the best football players they can be, and that's really where it ends. Some of that does necessarily mean teaching them to be good people though. To paraphrase Saban himself, if you can't count on a player to take care of their personal business like going to class and staying out of trouble, then how can you rely on them to do their jobs on the field? But beyond that, though, we are often quick to forget that we are dealing with college aged kids, prone to the same poor decision making and opportunities for trouble that the rest of their peers are also exposed to. This isn't trying to excuse the outright criminality of Elder and Johns, who didn't succumb to the kind of "wrong place, wrong time", heat of the moment trouble of Simeon Castille or Rashad Johnson, but it is to say that, when all is said and done, the kind of knee jerk punishments some of the more vocal members of our fan base (and certainly our rivals) called for were stupid and short minded. Kicking a kid off the team for the kind of arrest any one of us could have just as likely picked up in a college town on a Saturday night is dumb, and so long as we can count on Saban to do whatever it takes to make sure those offenders learn their lesson (be it suspensions or just extra stadiums) while also continuing to bring in guys that he doesn't have to worry about giving a black eye to the team and program, then that's disciplinarian enough for me.
2. And on that note, what's your gut instinct on any further arrests before the start of the season?
Gut instinct, Johns was the last. He was investigated enough that I'm more than comfortable believing that no other members of the team were involved. Crow as our rivals might about "Saban knew, and there's more of them!", no one has bothered to read between the obvious lines that a drug ring run by a group of Alabama football players would be such a huge bust that there's no way they'd grab Johns and be done with it, and they certainly wouldn't just take his word for it that no one else was involved. As for the other petty arrests that we piled up, the Strip is now off limits and they'll be bone tired from fall camp anyway, so I doubt they'll be feeling up to searching out trouble.
3. On a forward looking note, name the game you are most excited about this coming season and why.
Clemson, kids. It's the first game of the year, and even though it might get ugly for us quickly, it's still the start of a whole new season of football and I am chomping at the bit for it.
4. What's the game you are dreading the most?
The Third Saturday in October. I just have a bad feeling about playing up there this year, and I'm really afraid a loss there could send the team into another late season downward spiral. It's probably a needless worry since the team should be both physically and mentally tougher this year, but after years of late season woes, it just makes me extra nervous and especially infuriated thinking that a loss to the Vols (boo! hiss!) might be what ruins the rest of the season.
5. Finally, give me the dream play you want to see posted in YouTube form on every football blog this season involving the Crimson Tide.
A down to the wire slugfest with Auburn, where the Teagles, needing a TD to win, manage to drive to the Alabama four with only seven seconds left, only to see Kareem Jackson thwart their last ditch effort with a timely interception...and then an elephant appears as if from nowhere to trample the intended receiver.