A few initial impressions from the Ole Miss game:
- First and foremost, this is a big victory for the Tide. I know that some of the luster was taken off this game with Ole Miss' loss against South Carolina a couple of weeks back, but even so this game received lots of national attention yesterday, and it was the game that the pundits had circled all year long. To come out and win this type of game, on the road, is a big victory.
- Aside from the fact that it was a big victory, everything becomes more impressive in context. We beat a top 20 SEC team, on the road, 22-3 -- a pretty good shellacking in its own right -- and truthfully the game shouldn't have been that close. As good as we have been, we continue to be unable to fire on all cylinders, and we left a lot of points on the board yesterday afternoon. It was a 22-3 game that, truth be told, should have been even more lopsided. No doubt about it... we absolutely trashed this Ole Miss team physically. It was like watching a heavyweight fight where one fighter is destroying his opponent, but cannot quite get the knock-out blow he wants until the late rounds.
- The strength of the defense carried the day once again, and it's literally impossible to overstate the efforts those guys displayed. We got after Snead, completely shut down the running game, playing very tight coverage, and fought like hell for the football on every snap. If you were a coach putting on a clinic about how defense should be played, this is the game film you would put on as an example. I said this in the game thread yesterday, and in the sober reality of the day after I will reiterate here... this was the best defensive performance I've seen by an Alabama team since January 1st, 1993.
- Offensively, well, that was another story, particularly with regard to offensive playcalling. It just never made any sense whatsoever to me, or just about anyone else for that matter, and it's just entirely too much to get into with an initial impressions piece. I'm going to have a full column up on this later this week, probably around Wednesday.
- Greg McElroy easily had his worst day in crimson to date. I do think he was hampered a bit by poor play-calling, but even so he played poorly. He never looked comfortable in the pocket -- though the protection was probably about as good as you could expect against a front four like Ole Miss has -- and the way that he forced the ball to Julio Jones at times was almost laughable. He just looked like a completely different quarterback than we've seen to date. He honestly reminded me of John Parker Wilson circa 2006 or 2007 yesterday. I hate to be so negative about the kid, but... 43% completion percentage, 4.3 yards per attempt... all the crimson Kool-Aid in the world doesn't make that look good. It goes without saying that McElroy needs to play a lot better moving forward.
- That said, it just shows you good of an overall team we have when we can have such, um, shall we say "questionable" play-calling and quarterback play, and still win in a romp over a quality SEC team on the road. Teams that could do this are very much few and far between.