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The Crimson and White Roundtable: Todd Remembers!

Third Saturday in Blogtober is hosting this week, and since I punked out on it last week I'm making sure to get my answers in early this week to make up for it.

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

Honestly, at this point in the season I don't know where darn near anyone should be. I have us at #10 in my BlogPoll ballot, but I'm actually quite uncomfortable ranking us that high. Still, though, I couldn't think of a reason to rank us any lower either, other than trying not to be too big of a homer, and I really don't think we'll know how good this team is and where it should be ranked until they face some quality competition (I'm looking at you, UGA). It is nice being in the top ten though.

2. 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?

I can't say I was overly shocked by any of it, honestly. We should have beaten them like we did, so saying I was shocked by any one aspect would be like saying "I was shocked that dog barked!" I was impressed by several things, though, the first being our effort and determination. After a week's worth of (I imagine) less then gentle "I told you so" from Saban and the staff, it was good to see the Tide come out and play pretty mistake free football. They were efficient, made plays when needed, moved the ball effectively, converted third downs, and didn't make any boneheaded mistakes (though Wilson's INT to set up a WKU score was a horrifying flashback that I'm sure had us all in nervous knots until he came back out and shook it off). I was also impressed with the backups when they got in, especially the o-line guys. The offense kept right on clicking with McElroy under center and the 2nd teamers plowing the way, and even though I know it was junk time, just having that experience will go a long way towards our being able to start the process of building quality depth, something we were never able to do last year with games going to the wire every week (or the starters staying in to try for the win and yet still failing).

3. Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.

I think pretty much everyone on the offense is a candidate this week. They all went out and executed and played their parts, and it's really a toss up as to who deserves the honor most. I'm going to go with Wilson for his bounce back performance (INT aside, of course). He looked good in the pocket, he made (mostly) good decisions, and was even hitting the long passes to keep the chains moving. After such a bad game against Tulane, it's good to see that he didn't let that get into his head and start a spiraling meltdown like last season.

On defense, I'm going with the DBs as a whole instead of any particular player. That's cheap, I know, but considering we were in nickel and dime packages for most of the game and that we rotated a ton of players back there, they all did a damn good job of playing their parts and keeping their spread attack contained.

4. Who on each side of the ball has been the biggest surprise to you so far?

On offense, it has to be Mark Ingram. I knew the kid was going to be a bruiser and thought we'd make use of him as a short yardage/goal line back, but I had no idea he was that complete of a back already.

Though I did have an inkling that he could levitate with the power of his mind.

Honorable mention goes to Mr. Roy Upchurch, who came out of nowhere to be more than just a third option back, but a player that deserves quality snaps and gets them. We were ready to pronounce his career over after he had never materialized as a reliable or consistent player, but he's come on as a great pass catcher out of the backfield and solid between the tackles runner. Honestly, the only thing keeping him from getting the nod is his fumble on Saturday.

On defense, I've been very pleased with the progress of the DEs. None of those guys set the world on fire last year (and were generally a weak spot for the D), but this year, even though they haven't piled up a lot of stats, Bobby Greenwood, Brandon Deaderick, and Lorenzo Washington have come into their own as 3-4 ends and have really done a great job in getting a strong push into the opposing backfield on just about every play.

5. The last three weeks were fun, but now it’s time for conference play. What area of play concerns you now that we’re getting into the more physical stretch of the schedule?

Two things: Consistency and the passing attack. Starting with the latter, I know we hit a lot of big plays this weekend, but the Hilltopper DBs were playing way off and giving our receivers quite a cushion to try and keep us from making the big plays, and the better defenders of the SEC will be playing much tighter and will have the talent (and size) that WKU lacked to challenge us in man coverage. As for consistency, well, I'm sure you all know what I'm getting at there.