Let's start this week's TRUNKATION with a few quotes from the coaching staff:
"The coming opponent is one that trips up a lot of teams. Just when you think you have everything figured out, there is something else you didn't account for."
"This is the sort of opponent that gives you multiple looks and stretches you out. If you're not careful, and you aren't paying attention, you'll have a huge gap and then you have no chance at a W."
"You just have to avoid beating yourself. Injuries are always a concern, but besides that, you have to pay attention to all the little things that got you there. You have to buy into the overall program, and just hope that everyone else wearing Crimson is right there with you."
Most coaches would never come right out and say it, which is understandable. And we know that Coach Saban does not, as a rule, allow his assistants to speak on the record. But this is no ordinary week for the Crimson Tide, and there are very real fears that we will not win this coming Saturday.
"It's difficult enough when you have a date on the schedule, and you can't find any relevant film to study. Our inclination is to turn inward, and try to be the very best team we can be. You can plan and scheme and practice for just about everything you could imagine, but we have no idea what Saturday will bring us, and the NCAA limits us to a set amount of practice time. We just have to concentrate on ourselves."
As perilous as BYE can be, the tension has been doubled this year, as it appears twice on the Crimson Tide schedule. (So much for all that SEC front office favoritism!)
"Sure, it's always a concern when you see a name on the schedule twice in one year. I'm a little surprised that it hasn't happened more often in the conference. Say what you will about rematches, grudge matches, pattern matches... that's not anything we can control. If we're destined to see the same name lining up against us then we just have to suck it up and handle our business."
BYE is on an unprecedented, undefeated run, and this year will take on a record 125 FBS squads... TWICE. That's the sort of brutal schedule and ruthless efficiency that inspires awe and wonder, but can be a real turn-off to fans.
"I think as coaches, and as fans of this great game, we have to ask ourselves: is this what we want college football to become?"