"ZOMG Alabama didn't cover the spread and we didn't score all the touchdowns!"
enough of that, a'ight?
Lets look at this in the proper perspective. A win is always preferable to the alternative, unless it's the only way your boys can show the A.D. that it's time to run off the coach. We are who we were for four quarters. So now let's talk about those unreasonable expectations you had.
We replaced a quarterback
The most important person on our team isn't here anymore. He's in the NFL, where despite some misgivings about his measurables, he will enjoy a long career in the AFC North and many All-Pro honors.
No, I wasn't talking about AJ. I was referring to C.J.
Missing Mosley in the middle was bigger than any of us considered. He wasn't just a physical freak, who plays 20 pounds faster than his weight and hits 20 pounds heavier than his muscle -- he was worth 40 football IQ points on the field. And the guy who was going to fill those shoes instead filled a one-game suspension. So I'm not going to go as far to say that Brad Sylve looked awful because he was out of position with bad calls; I will say that a Mosley or DePriest led defense gets you tighter gaps between Mountaineer receivers and the Crimson ghosts chasing them.
Expecting Ragland and Foster to line up none others against a well-oiled no-huddle is a bit much.
We replaced another quarterback
Blake Sims had one hell of a game. Completed 72-percent of his passes, 250 yards and a pick. Had a couple of bad throws, also had a couple of dropped passes. (Looking at you, Christion.) Sims also turned a couple of really broken plays into something positive.
He did have some moments of indecision, but bounced back and had control. Coach Saban says he got foggy for a bit, and crossed up some formation calls in the huddle. We did not see the downfield game, and to be honest, that's not necessarily his thing. So why is he playing instead of Coker?
The new offensive line is gelling
Leon Brown didn't shine in the second half, but the rest of the line up front gave Yeldon and Henry enough crease to gain more than 100 each. They did miss some blitz pickups that could have been problematic, if not for the nifty work of Sims to buy time or gain ground. And that's the story right there. As soon as we have a line we can count on for more solid protection, then we can make a shift to a more attacking offense.
Your Uncle Ricky hasn't broken down the video on the DVR, but Cam Robinson was a beast. I'm thinking we missed Steen more than CyKo.
Shrugging at the HUNH
It's a sign of the times, but HUNH is now popping up in my spellcheck. The Hurry Up No Huddle offense does neutralize substitutions and can dictate tempo, but its devotees are overly aggressive in trying to make every game a referendum on a game clock tactic.
First, not all HUNH schemes are the same. You have vertical air raids, you have teams like Baylor that employ packages plays designed to stress a single defender, and you have power running spreads like Mahlzan's that try to beat you with a five-play gameplan. (Uncle Ricky liked that philosophy better when Denzel coached it in Remember The Titans.) But the defenses required for those are very different, and simply touting the HUNH is equivalent to preaching "I like four-wheeled vehicles!"
Second, Alabama did not succumb to this offense. West Virginia got a lot of yards and moved the clock, but settled for field goals. And those looking at the score will ignore the kickoff returned for a TD, simply because our coverage team gave up too soon. The HUNH is not Saban's Kryptonite. Great opposing quarterback play and inopportune turnovers are.
Our secondary still needs work
Uncle Ricky is going to assume you watched the game.
Lane Kiffin doesn't score every down
You leave Mrs. Kiffin out of this.
Yes, we have amazing playmakers. Did we want this to be the O.J. Howard show? Of course we did. Did we want Derrick Henry dragging 12 defenders into the endzone? Absolutely! Kenyan Drake running a wheel route and catching a sideline swing pass with receivers blocking downfield? Bingo.
That's a lot to ask for in your first game, with a growing offensive line and a new quarterback. This is about establishing the important things you'll need all year. Then you add the wrinkles that will give opposing coordinators ulcers, forcing them to choose their poison.
Move over that way
...before the smoke blows on you again. Your Uncle Ricky doesn't want your clothes reeking of campfire all night, and God knows I'm not doing your laundry.
So, what should we expect of this week?
We are moving down a few pegs in the polls. And I could not care less. If we grow like we need to, and take care of business, we will be in the top four at the end. And if we can't put everything together, the secondary keeps our opponents deep threats alive, and we let turnovers creep back onto our balance sheet.... Then we are who we are.
Now, can you spot your Uncle Ricky a Twenty? Uncle Ricky needs some smokes, and now that Mrs. Muncie has flipped it over to Outlander, this is a great time to make a run for some Ripple.