1. What will Alabama have to do in order to regroup after the loss to South Carolina and prepare for Ole Miss?
On defense I don't know if there's a "regrouping" that needs to take place so much as drastic improvement. It's like we talked about on the Radio Hour(ish) last night, SC didn't really do anything special or fancy to beat us, they just flat beat us because they saw where we were weak on defense and exploited it, simple as that. So as nice as it is to think that all we needed was a wake up call and all of a sudden we're going to get our act together and start whipping hell out of everyone in our path, until I see it on Saturday, quite frankly, I'm shaking in my boots over what a suddenly potent Ole Miss offense could do to us.
On offense is where we need to regroup and get back to the kind of run first mentality that we've been so successful with the last two years. I'm not advocating going back to the Wing T or anything because I fully believe we need to continue to generate "explosive" plays with our passing game, but the brutal truth is we don't have a QB that can consistently stretch the field and the times that he has been able to were all generally off of play action. We have two incredible running backs, a solid run blocking offensive line (and with McCullough now at RT...), and unselfish receivers and TEs that get downfield and block, too. I know we want to be aggressive on offense because the D isn't going to get the kind of stops we need to be a true ball control team, but at some point we have to go out and do what we do well instead of trying to force big plays out of thin air. We've shown that we can produce big plays from the running game and using Ingram and Richardson out of the backfield, so let's go back to our bread and butter stuff and build from there.
2. How does the Crimson Tide match up against the Rebels going into Saturday?
I don't really know on this one, honestly. Their offense isn't like anything we've faced so far this season, and Masoli is the best run/pass QB we've seen so far as well, so at the moment I'm just going to say we don't match up too well against them because, if we continue to play like we have on defense, we don't match up well against anyone right now.
3. What is the biggest area of improvement you’d like Alabama make in this game?
I am only half joking when I say I would drown a litter of kittens if it meant the Football Gods would grant us an ability to rush the passer and actually tackle on the rare occasions we do get into the backfield. The performance of the front seven so far has been very disappointing, especially since we all thought it was going to be the strength of the defense with both Hightower and Dareus back, plus high hopes for Courtney Upshaw after a stellar close to the 2009 season, Jerrell Harris, Nico Johnson, and etc. So far only Upshaw and Dareus have even been close to what we thought they were going to be and both of them have had only so so years thanks to injuries and the two game suspension for Dareus. The fact that we have been so consistently bullied at the point of attack is just alien to watch after we've been so dominant the last few years, and I really don't even know why. Experience shouldn't be an excuse; these guys have seen time as situational players and with half the season now gone they've got enough game experience to have turned a corner. I don't know what happened to our defense since last year, but right now it's not even a shadow of last year's team in terms of being physically dominant and imposing their will on the other team.
4. What are your thoughts on the Ole Miss mascot debate?
For what it's worth, The Girl (an Ole Miss grad) likes the bear, while I personally didn't care one way or another. The options were pretty "meh," and its none of my business to begin with, so whatevs man. Whatevs.